Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Filming for upcoming HBO show draws actors Tim Robbins, Jack Black to La Cañada

the brink
A prop sign for a filming for an upcoming HBO show titled “The Brink” was spotted in La Cañada Flintridge on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014.
(Photo by Sara Cardine)

Tim Robbins? Check.

Jack Black? Check.

Street signs in Urdu? Check.

La Cañada Flintridge filming permit? Well…


Anyone traveling down Oak Grove Drive Thursday afternoon may have been puzzled by the appearance of a street sign in Urdu, accompanied by the words “Kashmir Highway” and an arrow pointing down Arroyo Boulevard, with Pakistani military trucks in the parking lot of the La Cañada Methodist Church.

They weren’t the result of any geopolitical incident, but rather, props for a new HBO comedy series “The Brink,” starring Robbins as U.S. Secretary of State and Black as a humble Foreign Service officer who team up with actor Pablo Schreiber (of “Orange is the New Black” fame) to save the nation from a fast-approaching World War III scenario, according to movie site

Also seen in La Cañada Thursday was the usual production folderol — tents and cameras, equipment trucks, film crews and, of course, the celebrity cast members themselves — firmly ensconced in the church lot.

The production company had applied for a one-day parking permit with the city of La Cañada Flintridge, according to administrative intern Greg Kwolek, for a $100 application fee, with the understanding that all filming would take place in Pasadena.


But when a sheriff’s deputy traveling through the area saw the sign prop on La Cañada soil and observed a California Highway Patrol officer temporarily directing traffic, city officials were notified, said Kwolek, who oversees film permits.

“I’m not privy to the details of the filming, because they did not get a permit,” he said. “We didn’t really know what was going on. Some of it was being done within the city boundaries and some of it wasn’t.”

After some clarifying conversations between the team’s permitting company and city officials, all parties agreed filming would wrap up by that afternoon.

Kwolek said the matter constituted a good portion of his work day.

Described as an “epic dark comedy,” the show is the brainchild of “Meet the Parents” director Jay Roach and is executive produced by Jerry Weintraub, who got the OK from HBO decision makers to film the series in February.

“The Brink” is expected to air sometime in 2015.