Amputee Zyra Gorecki shines in sci-fi thriller La Brea

The kicker is, she is the first amputee to play a leading role as an amputee in a network TV series and it is her first major role, having started her career as a model.

La Brea, which had its premiere on Australian small screens on Monday, begins with helicopter mum Eve Harris (Natalie Zea) driving her teenagers Izzy (Gorecki) and Josh (Jack Martin) to school in a typical downtown Los Angeles freeway traffic jam.

The action picks up immediately when a huge sink hole opens up beneath the world famous fossil site La Brea Tar Pits and Museum.

Cars, buses, buildings and people fall into the gaping maw, including Eve and Josh, while Izzy is left to mourn their loss with her estranged dad Gavin (Eoin Macken).

Believing no one could have survived the descent into the cavernous hole, the government is unwilling to try to mount a rescue.

From here the storyline is tricky, as the viewer is flung from modern day LA to a primeval land inhabited by sabre tooth tigers, dire wolves and other extinct creatures, plus someone – or a race of people – capable of building an animal trap.

Without offering any spoilers, suffice to say it is up to Gavin to convince Izzy and the powers that be, the other half of his family is still alive.

The series was filmed in Victoria and will return for a second season to be filmed around Mount Macedon and other regional areas of the state.

Here is an insight into the talented Zyra Gorecki.

Q: Do you you feel a sense of pride to be the first amputee actor to have a lead role in a network series?

A: Yes, I am absolutely honoured.

Q: I read it was a logging accident when you were 13 years old that led to your leg being amputated below the knee. How difficult was that to cope with at such a young age?

A: I had so many amazing female influences in my life, that I really just did it and carried on with my life. They taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to.

Q: Camp No Limits is where you met David Harrell, who is responsible for you hearing about the La Brea audition. What sort of activities did you do at the camp?

A: Every program is different, Maine and Connecticut were both wonderful. Learning how to kayak, play guitar, compete in outdoor games. It was similar to any regular summer camp, teaching amputees to do it all and learning to adapt.

Q: You have received some great accolades in the media for your role, how does that make you feel?

A: I try to stay grounded, I am still the same person, with a lot of amazing opportunities. I feel humble and fortunate.

Q: You have said your favourite actor was Australian Heath Ledger. It must have been serendipitous to film your first major role in Australia.

A: I LOVED Australia (sic) … Gorgeous. It was tranquil living in Melbourne on the water. None of the animals even tried to kill me!

Q: You have a fear of heights but had to hang off a high platform for the big scene when the sink hole opens up – how did you get through that?

A: Just did it … I had previously gone skydiving, so I took a deep breath and knew I would survive.

Q: Do you think your role may help lift some of the stigma attached to being an amputee?

A: Absolutely, I wanted to help amputees realise that an amputee IS capable of anything.

Q: What was the best thing about working on La Brea?

A: THE CAST & CREW !!!! (sic). They made it so special and welcoming. So much fun.

One of those cast members is Australian actor Rohan Mirchandaney, who plays university student Scott Israni. He is also a sink hole victim, whose research studies prove helpful in determining the survivors have potentially time travelled to a primeval period.