Approximately a year ago, “The Walking Dead” moved offices from Hollywood to Burbank, allowing the show’s writers and post teams to be moments away from each other. For showrunner Angela Kang, who has to bounce between departments, this proximity has been a huge help. But she admits she needed assistance decorating her space in a “neat and organized” fashion because she is usually in a “creative frenzy.” So she brought in an expert: Amber McDermitt, an interior designer and wife of “The Walking Dead” actor Josh McDermitt.
A longtime fan of genre projects, Kang keeps a rubber replica of the facehugger from “Alien” within arm’s reach by her desk. Executive producer and director Greg Nicotero gave it to her as a good luck present when she took over as showrunner for Season 9 of the AMC zombie drama, remembering how much she loved it when he was messing around with it seasons earlier. The showrunner wants to get “a clear mannequin head of some sort so you can attach it and see the interior, too,” but it’s already a good conversation piece for her office.
Kang framed and hung an axe over her desk. Inscribed with the quintessential Season 8 quote, “My mercy prevails over my wrath,” the axe was a wrap gift from actor Andrew Lincoln. The motto signifies the lesson Lincoln’s character learned about living in peace after wanting revenge against Negan, but Kang feels the quote exemplifies the overall message of the show. Having it loom large above where she writes reminds her of that. “These characters are in a world where they are constantly engaging with a fight-or-flight response and are also thinking about who they are as people and who they want to be. Is the only way forward to fight and kill, or is there something that makes us uniquely human?” she says.
When Kang was growing up in Irvine, Calif., her elementary school teachers would collect the best student art and written works from the year and have them bound into books. “You had to come up with the title, and they taught you how to do a dedication,” Kang recalls. She has carried three of those books — from her second through fourth grade years — with her to every place she has lived, and now brings them into her office to reflect on the beginnings of her creativity. “I’m pretty sure one of these books has the first time in print I said I wanted to be a writer when I grew up,” she says.
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Kang’s 6-year-old son often says his favorite color is “rainbows,” the showrunner says, and fittingly, he painted her a picture of a rainbow to hang in her office. It sits just above his eye level on the wall next to her door. “What I love about it is it is just so happy. That’s his spirit and I like having that energy and that reminder,” says Kang. She had a difficult pregnancy during the third season of the show and was hospitalized; her son was born three months premature. Now, he has grown up with the show, even appearing in a pivotal dream sequence as Glenn and Maggie’s baby.