Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are parting ways with Starz.
It has been reported by Variety that the primary minds behind Starz’s American Gods adaptation have left their posts as showrunners. Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, who also serve as executive producers, will be moving on from the show due to a clash between them and one of the producers.
Contention over budget and creative direction were listed as reasons for the split in Variety’s report. Fuller and Green were said to push for more spending power to amp up season 2 of the acclaimed show, with a proposed per-episode budget of almost $10 million.
Even if we obviously don’t know what exactly went on behind the scenes at these budget meetings, that somehow doesn’t feel unfathomable, due to the sheer stylistic artistry of each American Gods and the story’s high-concept demands. Both Fuller and Green have strong artistic visions, or at least all their work thus far has indicated that. Green co-wrote two of the best movies this year — Logan and Blade Runner 2049 — and even when the overall film falls short (Alien: Covenant, for example), the visuals impact of his movies are made incredibly apparent.
Anyone who’s seen other Bryan Fuller shows would know the meticulously crafted worlds his fictions inhabit. Just a few years ago, he presented a fresh, unexpected take on Thomas Harris’ iconic cannibal, Hannibal Lecter. Now, I could talk about my personal favorite Fuller contribution to TV, Pushing Daisies, but that doesn’t quite have the same tonal setting as American Gods. Hannibal the TV show was the definition of too-close-for-comfort that hadn’t yet been done in previous screen adaptations of Harris’ work. Fuller doesn’t turn the camera away during intense and especially gory moments; he loves amplifying them instead. His shows are an experience, with everything occupying a unique footprint.
Hannibal was already a comparatively intimate show when measured against American Gods. The restrictiveness of being a network show was a big reason why, but Hannibal still ended up being one of the most compelling shows for the three seasons it did air. The vastness of American Gods and its sweeping mythology and outlandish characters are just a whole other ballpark. Liz Baessler covered American Gods throughout its first season. Even from her recap of the show’s preview way back in April, there was a sense of anticipation brought about because of Fuller’s involvement given his attention to detail. Fuller and Green’s commitment to creating a good adaptation worthy of Neil Gaiman’s deeply layered critique of American culture. Per Baessler:
“All in all, American Gods is in beyond capable hands. It’s visually stunning, superbly written and performed, and remarkably true to the source. If you haven’t read the book, please still watch it. You can share in Shadow’s disorientation and wonder as the world opens up around you and you see things as they really are.”
Starz has yet to announce Fuller and Green’s replacements at American Gods.