Starz’s “American Gods” was eagerly anticipated among fantasy and sci-fi fans — not just because of the Neil Gaiman novel on which it’s based, but also because it comes from creators and showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. Of their East L.A. offices, Fuller’s is notable for its ’60s retro furniture and decor and Green’s for the gruesome-looking prop that he hurls scissors at all day.
“Doctor Who” super-fans refer to themselves as Whovians. Fuller’s NBC drama “Hannibal” had its Fannibals. And Fuller has a pillow to commemorate them by — sent to him by fans, featuring Hugh Dancy’s Will Graham and Mads Mikkelsen’s Dr. Hannibal Lecter. “The Hannigram pillow really is just an acknowledgement of the significance of the Fannibals who sent it to me and the connection between the storyteller and the audience,” he says. “As a Fannibal myself, I find a lot of support in that community, and I wanted something in my office that was a constant reminder of these wonderful people.”
“‘Alien’ was really my ‘Star Wars’ growing up,” Fuller says. In college, he was studying psychology with the goal of eventually becoming a psychiatrist. As part of his studies, Fuller proposed an experiment that intended to determine whether audiences would be more fulfilled by a film if they knew the psychological subtext or if they viewed it only as a popcorn thriller, using “Alien” as the case study. “After I wrote the experiment proposal, my instructor said I needed to get out of psychology and go to film school. So I did.”
“Showrunning is a hard job,” says Green. “Sometimes you get frustrated and need to throw a sharp object into something soft.” Green used to keep a dartboard in his office, but took to throwing scissors at it when darts proved unsatisfying. After the board inevitably gave out, Green’s assistant at the time built a new one “out of garbage around the office.” Since then all Green’s assistants have been tasked with maintaining the board and building new iterations. But Green doesn’t monopolize it. “A surprising number of times a week, someone who I work with will come into my office frustrated with some frustrating part of their job and I will listen to them, put a scissor in their hand and say, ‘Just throw it at this for a little while,’” he says.
Green keeps a letter that his former boss Greg Berlanti gave him when the two worked together on “Everwood.” It reads, “Michael Green has my permission to kill me as long as he does so quickly and painlessly. Offer is good as long as I’m showrunning.” The letter, Green says, is “a constant reminder of a dear friend who manages to make the job look effortless while he does it on multiple shows and a constant reminder that showrunning is a job that no one should ever attempt and no one can ever do correctly.”