Standing on a small sand dune overlooking Morro Rock, Gail McBride could just make out the face of actor Joshua Jackson, star of Showtime’s hit drama “The Affair.”
“He’s taller than I thought,” the Morro Bay resident said, watching as the 6-foot-2 Jackson shot a scene with actress Phoebe Tonkin on the broad, sandy beach north of the rock.
Gentle breezes ruffled the sand while the afternoon sun, glinting off the rolling waves, infused the setting with golden light.
“He’s one of my favorites on the show,” McBride said of Jackson, famous for playing heartthrob Pacey on “Dawson’s Creek.” “I think he’s very sexy.”
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A production crew for “The Affair” spent Thursday afternoon at Morro Rock Beach shooting footage for the show’s fourth season, which premieres June 17. The Golden Globe Award-winning series examines the emotional fallout of an extramarital affair.
Jackson plays restaurateur Cole, whose waitress wife, Alison (Ruth Wilson), has a fling with struggling novelist Noah (Dominic West). Tonkin guest-stars in season 4 as Daphne, the protegé of a sculptor with a mysterious connection to Cole’s father.
On Thursday, the bond between Jackson’s and Tonkin’s characters was unclear. During one scene, which the actors shot multiple times, Daphne hands Cole a piece of paper tied in string that he burns in a small driftwood fire at their feet.
Crew members kept busy between takes, adjusting equipment and positioning a large white screen.
Two crew members used brooms to sweep the beach, while another fetched sand from the surrounding dunes in a plastic pail.
The production drew a handful of curious bystanders, including McBride and her husband, Walter, who moved to Morro Bay from the Bay Area two years ago. They were accompanied by a friend, Jim Soderborg, an actor who’s visiting from Paradise in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
“How much fun is this?” asked Soderborg, grinning.
“The Affair” production crew planned to spend most of Friday filming exterior shots of various locations on the Embarcadero in downtown Morro Bay, according to location manager Greg Lazzaro. One scheduled shooting spot was the parking lot next to Wavelengths Surf Shop.
The finished product is expected to air on Showtime in mid-July.
Once the episode airs, “The secret’s going to get out” about Morro Bay, Gail McBride joked.