‘Southland’ puts viewers on L.A.’s mean streets: The gritty TNT crime series uses former gang members and off-duty LAPD personnel to bolster the reality quotient of story lines that are usually filmed on location.
Adding to the sense of realism, the actors playing gangsters are not sent to auditions by their Beverly Hills agents. Most are ex-gangbangers, tatted and menacing, who know how to mad-dog rivals, throw gang signs and dis the cops. During some shoots, the officers who are extras and the gangsters who are extras previously had encounters on the street, which has made for fraught moments.
… “A few of the guys said the gang cops should immediately have the gangsters turn around with their hands around their heads and then search them,” said Daniel. “A few other guys said the cops should make the gangsters sit on the ground and cross their legs so they can’t get up and run. Pretty soon the former gang members started offering advice. They said that as soon as the cops pulled up, a few guys who weren’t holding dope or guns would run. When the cops chased them, the rest of the guys would split in the other direction. We incorporated all of that, and the end result was we had a very realistic scene.”
Photo: Actress Lucy Liu, center, talks with director and executive producer Christopher Chulack, right, with her on-screen partner Michael Cudlitz, left, between scenes at a car wash in Los Angeles for “Southland.” Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times
We thought this show seemed realistic but we didn’t realize just how realistic it was, way to kick it up Southland!