Lara Azzopardi is Maltese, born and bred – but her talent got the producer and script-writer global gigs. Now based in Los Angeles, she is working on projects bigger and better than ever, including Netflix series ‘The Bold Type’.
Ever since she wrote her first play at the age of 5, she fell in love with telling stories. She dictated ‘The Spell’, about the adventurous lives of witches and fairies, while her father Mario Philip Azzopardi typed it up for her.
Azzopardi then gathered all her friends to rehearse during recess. Eventually, they invited all their parents to watch the show as they fumbled through the story.
“Honestly, I don’t really think I’ve looked back since then. I love to tell stories. For better or worse, I’m not very good at doing much else.”
To take her skills to the next level, she went to the University of Toronto, where she did a double major in English and Drama. “There I really fell in love with theatre and did a fellowship with the prominent Toronto theatre company Soul Pepper.”
After her graduation, she started working in the theatre community, and founded a political theatre cabaret called ‘The Wrecking Ball’. In the meantime, she wrote, directed and produced her first short film called ‘I Am An Apartment Building’, which garnered a lot of attention at numerous Film festivals and is now available on iTunes.
Today, she is based in Los Angeles – right where Hollywood is. Three years ago she was hired to work on a Ryan Murphy show called ‘911’ for Fox.
“It was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to, so I uprooted my family and we all moved to Los Angeles. It’s been a fantastic ride so far.”
The latest series Azzopardi worked on, The Bold Type, is streamed on Netflix. Inspired by the life of Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, the show is a glimpse into the extraordinary lives of the staffers responsible for global women’s magazine Scarlet.
Through heartbreaks and friendship struggles, protagonists Jane, Kat, and Sutton lean on each other while seeking to find their own voice and identity.
Recently, Azzopardi got to write the series finale – which almost ended very differently. The writers on the show went back and forth on the ending for months, pondering whether they should get the characters of Sutton and Richard back together or leave them split up.
“It was really important to us that Sutton stayed strong in her convictions. She loves Richard so much, but knows who she is enough to know that she couldn’t give Richard what he wanted – children.”
Spoiler alert: in the eleventh hour they decided to keep Richard and Sutton together as they found a way to keep the characters strong in their convictions. “It just felt right to end their story with a happy ending.”
Out of her impressive filmography, her favourite show to work on was “Backstage”, which she created for the Family Channel in Canada, and was later aired on Disney and Netflix worldwide.
The show is centred around the lives of students and an arts high school.
“It very much was a love letter to my three daughters, and really the only thing I’ve made that has been age-appropriate for them to watch.”
After her many successes, she is still passionate about what she does. “I love working in a writers room where I get to collaborate with smarter people than me. That process is so unique. There really is nothing like it.”
“I also love rewriting. The stage when I’ve written my first draft and get to start the process of really living in a scene and spending the time with the characters in any given moment. What I wish I could skip is writing that first draft! As a writer, that first draft is always the hardest.”
And Azzopardi is looking forward to whatever the future has in store for her. “I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to work in both Canada and the US and that my work has been shown all over the world. I hope that I can keep working in both countries.”
But she won’t forget her Maltese heritage: “I would love to work in Europe one day, especially Malta. Who knows, maybe I’ll create a show that I can bring to Malta to film. That would be a dream.”
Regarding her upcoming projects, she cannot share any details yet. “But I am so excited about them and am getting to work with some really amazing talent.”
Keep an eye out for Azzopardi’s upcoming work!