Lily Santiago and Michelle Vergara Moore, who star as Veronica and Ella on La Brea, spoke with Solzy at the Movies about the series.
In particular, the duo were on hand to discuss an emotional moment taking place in the fourth episode of the second season, “The Fog.”
The second season of La Brea is currently airing on NBC. All episodes are available to stream the next day on Peacock.
I’ve been enjoying these two seasons of La Brea so far. How did you respond when you first found out about the series?
Lily Santiago: You mean initially—before we started filming season one?
Or when you first auditioned.
Lily Santiago: It was interesting because in the audition for me, they really didn’t give me much information. I basically had to just throw my version of these very simple lines because they didn’t want to give anything away. And then, right before my callback, they told me the kicker, which was that I had kidnapped my sister. I just had to shift on a dime in my audition and be like, that’s a different level of sisterhood. We’re like Sister Wives in a way. And from then on, knowing it was filming in Australia, knowing it was a network TV show and all that that entails in terms of visibility. Also, just the scale of it, the scale of the sets. We’re out here \ on a real live playground, essentially, out in nature dealing with the elements actually, dealing with the animals actually, which are not as extreme as they were in 10,000 BCE. But yeah, it was all just super exciting because the show in itself is truly insane in everything that we accomplish.
Michelle Vergara Moore: I think for me, because the show obviously was already filming when I got this audition. And again, not very much information. A very enigmatic character. And so later on, it was revealed that I was actually Lilly, young Lilly, and I did not see that coming. I sort of was like, maybe, but no one had told me anything. I didn’t know how big like the role was going to be. I didn’t know if it was just me guesting for an episode or three. I think David Applebaum just wanted to keep things very close to his chest and definitely didn’t want any spoilers coming out about this big reveal of Ella being Lilly grown up.
La Brea has become one of those series where I can’t wait to watch the next episode. Is it the same on your end when it comes to receiving the newest script?
Lily Santiago: Yes. People sort of don’t know all the time. Last week, I showed up to set, I think, three of the days I had new things to say. So even when we get a script, it’s not necessarily what we’re going to film. And even when you read it, if you’re not in the scene, you actually have no idea what they’ve made. Because I don’t watch playback usually—maybe one time I watched it because of an action thing and you want to make sure you’re in the right place or something or you’re trying it a bunch of different ways and you’re like, is it coming across. But usually, I don’t watch playback so at the end of the day, I really have no idea what we’re making beyond what I feel and my interactions with people on set. I also get really excited to read the next script, but ultimately to see it when everybody else sees it because it’s going to turn out completely different than how I read it.
Michelle Vergara Moore: I agree. I have no idea what’s going to happen next. I’m so glad that you, as a viewer, are like what the heck’s gonna happen next week? It’s just that classic storytelling where they leave it on a semi-cliffhanger. This season, they’re actually dividing the season. What is it, the fall—
Lily Santiago: The fall finale. We have a first half and a second half this year.
Michelle Vergara Moore: You’ll have to wait till next year (laughs) to find out what happens in the end of season two. That’s gonna be painful for us, too, I think.
I remember last year, as soon as I got the email from NBC, new screener available, press play!
Michelle Vergara Moore: Yeah.
Lily Santiago: We are grateful for you.
Your two characters, Veronica and Ella, have had quite the journey and reached a very emotional moment in episode four. How has it been with approaching their relationship this season?
Michelle Vergara Moore: I think it’s been really difficult for Ella to try to connect with her sister because Veronica just doesn’t want to have a bar of it. She’s just like, Get away from me. I think that Ella is just struggling to connect and to understand why Veronica does not want to communicate with her, doesn’t want to engage. I think in episode four, the wolves, which was incredibly fun to shoot, we had to pretend there were wolves, obviously. I think that when those circumstances are so dire, they both think they’re potentially going to die, and Veronica just has to reveal that massive, horrible secret that she’s been harboring and Ella forgives her very graciously in that moment.
Lily Santiago: Yeah, I think from the first moment of the reunion, which for Ella has been 30 years, and for Veronica, has been a day or two but with a 30-year difference in who she’s embracing. There’s that moment of fear, of joy, love, relief, anger, and getting to incorporate all of those things into each one of our scenes before we sort of resolve things was challenging and really fun because every scene was just layered. Even if we’re saying three lines, it’s just got so many layers of background and history and emotion. Ultimately, we reach this point where we might die. I think Veronica—in her mind, she’s like, I can’t die harboring this secret, knowing this information, having you want to be my friend, when I know what I’ve done. It’s sort of a moment of not even necessarily seeking forgiveness, which she still gets forgiven. But it’s just a moment of release of, I’m not going to die with this on my chest. That sparks this opportunity for them to reestablish their relationship in a beautiful way and start to trust each other again and start to rely on each other again.
It was so nice to meet you. Thank you so much.
Lily Santiago: Thank you, Danielle.
Michelle Vergara Moore: Bye.
La Brea airs Tuesday at 9 PM ET on NBC.
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