Esera Tuaolo, left, prepares to shoot a kidnapping scene in the Edgewater's parking garage with fellow actor Erik Stolhanske, sporting a duct-taped mug at right. Producer Kirk Hokanson is in background. Photo by Kristin Tillotson.
Ex-NFL defensive lineman Esera Tuaolo tossed a struggling, bound-and-gagged man over his shoulder and burst through the doorway of an underground parking garage. It looked just like a kidnapping, and it was — a scripted one, at least. Tuaolo and his “victim,” actor Erik Stolhanske, were shooting a scene for the pilot of “West Lake,” which writer R.D. Zimmerman and director Rob Perez hope will get picked up as a half-hour online comedy series about the residents of a luxury condo complex on Lake Calhoun. Stolhanske plays Ian, an agoraphobe hiding out in the suburbs who is forcibly relocated to Uptown Minneapolis by his best friend, Tanner (played by Tuaolo). Much of the pilot will be shot at the gorgeously modern penthouse suite in the Edgewater building on the northeast shore of Calhoun, where Zimmerman, better known as historical-fiction author Robert Alexander (“The Kitchen Boy”), lives with architect Lars Peterssen, who designed the suite, the Edgewater's lobby and several other units. “We consider ourselves a sort of of vertical community here, and so are the characters on the show,” said Zimmerman, whose script was inspired in part by the cozy relationships he has with his neighbors. Perez, who moved to Minneapolis after working with and befriending hometown guy Josh Hartnett in “40 Days and 40 Nights,” said that the broadcast-quality pilot will be marketed for online streaming to websites like Hulu and Amazon. “Everyone’s looking for good original online content,” he said. “It’s the new frontier, like what HBO was 30 years ago.” "West Lake" will be shooting through early next week at locations including Icehouse restaurant on Eat Street.