SUPERGIRL: Azie Tesfai on the 'Emotional' Process of Penning Her First Hour of TV - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SUPERGIRL: Azie Tesfai on the ‘Emotional’ Process of Penning Her First Hour of TV

September 21, 2021 by  

SUPERGIRL Azie Tesfai interview

Supergirl — “Blind Spots” — Image Number: SPG612fg_0017r — Pictured: Azie Tesfai as Guardian — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

As SUPERGIRL’s final stretch of episodes plays out, series star Azie Tesfai (who plays Kelly on The CW drama) is marking an important milestone: co-writing an episode of the series, “Blind Spots,” which airs Tuesday, September 21.

“I started writing during the pandemic,” explains Tesfai. “Got a writing teacher, and handled it like a true student. I wrote during the whole break, and we were down for almost a whole year. So I did that and then I had an idea that I was developing as I got to work closely with my old showrunner and creator of JANE THE VIRGIN, Jennie Urman, who is a genius and the most incredible woman. I got to spend the break working with her, which kind of solidified for me that I wanted to tell stories.”

“She’s always been so supportive, encouraging, and, again, she’s an actual genius,” she continues. “So doing Zooms with her and developing, I just became very passionate about it.”

When it came to finding an in with SUPERGIRL, “I wanted to tell a PTSD war vet storyline, specifically with Kelly and what it looks like—sending our vets back home after putting them through trauma, and how we as a society have not supported them,” Tesfai says. “And so I wrote a sample script with that storyline, and they loved it and our showrunners were incredibly supportive. They sent that off to our producers and the studio, as a sample and it was approved. And then, that storyline didn’t happen, but they still committed to me writing an episode.”

Because of how collaborative writing tends to be, Tesfai flew to LA to join the writers’ room. “They gave me three episodes off [on the series], so I did full writers’ room for a month,” she recalls. “I [was there] every day from 10 to 5, did the whole vibe; I loved it. I was already really close with a lot of our writers. And so that was an amazing experience. We broke the whole arc, so I was able to be a part of 9 [through] 12 and telling that story, which is amazing. And that was great because I was really able to be fully a writer; I didn’t have to worry about acting…I just got to do write and create with them and then write in my bed. I was like this is the best job ever, don’t have to go through hair and makeup.”

Once the writers broke the arc, and then broke down what happens in “Blind Spots,” “[co-writer] J. [Holtham] and I went off and wrote,” she says.

In the hour, Kelly becomes frustrated when she realizes she’s alone in prioritizing victims of the Ormfell building collapse…which leads to her finally stepping into the role of Guardian, in order to help the systematically overlooked citizens.

“[Holtham and I] have very different experiences, and collaborating with him was wonderful,” Tesfai says. “And there were many, many conversations and doing this episode was incredibly intimate: you’re speaking of your own trauma and your own experiences and unpacking a lot with someone.”

The duo also leaned on director David Ramsey, whose ARROWverse character Diggle is an important touchstone for Kelly in the hour. “He and I had many dinners before we we started filming together,” Tesfai shares. “One, I wanted to make sure we did a pass a Diggle pass and made it accurate and honored the character he’s played forever. But also his experience in society and bringing that nuance and that different perspective in it, [we wanted it to] not be a one-sided story.”

When it came to the actual filming, “we have these great guest stars that come in,” Tesfai recalls. “It was emotional and therapeutic and intimate and vulnerable, all the things, when you’re tackling a subject like this. And also becoming a superhero—I think my character finding her power and me being empowered, were very parallel through the whole process of filming the arc [as] I was writing and doing studio and network notes calls. And I was going through a lot of the revisions while on set starting the storyline. So Kelly and I went through a very similar journey at the same time, which was which was awesome.”

SUPERGIRL, Tuesdays, 9/8c, The CW


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