'The Flash' Creator Greg Berlanti Was A Puppeteer In High School & It'll Make You Love Him Even More
You might not think you know Greg Berlanti, but if you've watched almost any show on The WB or The CW for the past 10 or so years, you definitely know his work. From Everwood to the DCTV empire that is Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow, Berlanti has created some of the networks' most impactful shows. But there's one thing even his biggest fans might not know: in addition to being a television god and Love, Simon director, Greg Berlanti was a puppeteer in high school. Yes, really — before he was bringing comic books to life every week and a gay high school love story to the big screen this month, Berlanti was just a regular teenager. With puppets.
During a stop by Bustle's New York City offices, Berlanti shocks his young Love, Simon stars Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, and Alexandra Shipp by revealing his puppeteer past. "I was a high school puppeteer," he says. "So, you know, I never really had a good day socially." Not only was Berlanti a budding puppeteer, he also made his own puppets and idolized Muppets creator Jim Henson. "I was settling down on the puppets and transitioning from the local puppeteer to doing more theater and doing things like that, but I wanted to be Jim Henson when I was a kid, so I would build puppets in my garage," he explains.
For a young Berlanti, puppeteering not only opened the door to theater and other forms of storytelling, but gave him an important outlet. "Because I was closeted, I wasn't really concerned about having a social life. It just was more about the art and storytelling and stuff," he explains. Yet unlike many high school puppeteers, Berlanti's teenage hobby actually paid off. Today, the writer, director, and producer is a bonafide Hollywood success with a television empire that is only growing. In addition to his duties as a show creator and executive producer on The CW's DCTV lineup, Berlanti also acts as executive producer on hit TV shows Riverdale and Blindspot.
Despite his success, though, Berlanti says he's never been able to grow out of his puppeteer past. "I still go to events in my hometown and they'll still say, 'Puppet guy!' And I'll be like, I've done some other things now! I'm not just puppet guy anymore," he says, to his Love Simon cast's amusement. "But that's the kind of thing that sticks."
His puppet background does come in handy these days, though; Berlanti reveals that he brings out the voices when playing with his two-year-old son (cue the "aw"s). And even back in his teenage years, Berlanti still managed to do OK. "I somehow managed to escape the clutches of being class dork," he says. Instead, when it came time to receive high school superlatives, he earned a much classier honor. "I was best dressed, but you should also know that my mom dressed me most of high school — no joke," he says. "In the morning I'd show up, and the outfits would be out, I'd put them on and I got class best dressed."
If that weren't enough, Berlanti was also awarded the title of "class thespian." Considering his current status as director of one of the most highly anticipated films of 2018 and red carpet regular, it looks like Berlanti might be one of the few people whose high school superlatives and hobbies actually counted for something.