NBCUniversal drama ‘La Brea’ shooting in Melbourne

L-R: Russel Howcroft, Kate Marks (CEO Ausfilm), Caroline Pitcher (CEO Film Victoria), David Appelbaum (creator and showrunner), Minister Pearson and Minister Fletcher.

Yet another NBCUniversal and Universal Studio Group series is headed to Australia, with drama La Brea to film in Melbourne over the next few months.

With production to be overseen by Matchbox Pictures, the series was lured here via a $9.66 million grant from the Federal Government’s Location Incentive Program.

It is expected to inject more than $71 million into the economy, create jobs for 290 Australian cast and crew, and use the services of around 295 local businesses.

La Brea follows a family that tries to survive after they are separated by a massive sinkhole that mysteriously opens in Los Angeles.

The cast includes Nicholas Gonzalez, Eoin Macken, Natalie Zea, John Seda, and Aussie actors Rohan Mirchandaney and Chloe De Los Santos.

Creator, writer, and showrunner David Appelbaum (The Enemy Within) is executive producing with Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott, Rachel Kaplan, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt, and Ken Woodruff.

Naomi Cleaver is the local producer attached for La Brea, which Universal Television is producing with Keshet Studios.

As part of production, Universal Studio Group and Matchbox Pictures will partner with AFTRS on a training initiative dedicated to virtual production.

Principal photography has commenced, with post-production and visual effects to also take place in Melbourne.

La Brea is the fourth NBCUniversal/Universal Studio Group project announced for Australia in recent months, following on from Young Rock, Joe Exotic and Irreverent.

Matchbox chief operating officer Matt Vitins said La Brea was a “super-premium, effects-driven drama” that would build capacity in the Australian screen industry.

“Following the success of shooting Young Rock in Queensland, this project will allow us to invest even more in technology and training for Australian creative talent,” he said.

“The partnership with AFTRS is a very exciting part of this.”

Victorian Creative Industries Minister Danny Pearson said La Brea strengthened the state’s reputation as a “hub of screen excellence”.

“After a challenging year, our screen industry is well and truly back with a strong pipeline of projects now shooting across the state with more projects on the way, supporting Victorian jobs and talent,” he said.

“We have a long-standing relationship with NBCUniversal and we warmly welcome them back to Melbourne with their series La Brea.”