‘Mr. Robot’ Creator Praises Rami Malek’s Audition

Rami Malek in Mr. Robot

Films and television series about hacking don’t have great track records, mostly because they tend to get the details wrong. Shows about characters with social anxiety tend to be even more off the mark. But USA Network’s Mr. Robot has received significant praise for its handling of the lead character, Elliot Alderson, played by Rami Malek, who is a hacker who suffers from social anxiety. Much of the character is based on the personal experience of creator and showrunner Sam Esmail, though Esmail gives significant credit to Malek for making his writing work.

In a conversation about casting with The Hollywood Reporter, Esmail went into detail about Malek’s audition for the role, recalling, “He was shaking. He literally said the script breeds anxiety. It was nerve-wracking. I was like, ‘Is he gonna get through this audition?’ Then he did the audition. By that point we had seen maybe one hundred guys, and it was not right. It was the ‘fuck society’ speech and it felt didactic. I was like ‘This is terrible. We got to call USA and cancel this because it’s not good. But the thing that Rami told me was that he loved all the jagged edges of this character.”

One other thing that Malek had going for him — Esmail didn’t think he’d be difficult to work with. He says, “The other thing is, especially with TV, in particular with TV, you don’t want to cast an asshole. As good as they might be, if they’re an asshole I really don’t want to work with that person.”

Esmail obviously picked the right actor for the part — the second season of Mr. Robot premieres in July.

Leave a Reply

‘Call Me By Your Name’ Star Timothée Chalamet: “What scares me is being boring”
"At a certain point I was able to come to grips with the idea to just 'be.'" - Timothée Chalamet
‘Phantom Thread’ Star Lesley Manville: “It’s so easy to make someone bad look good on film. In theatre, there’s no hiding place”
"Filming is different. You’re getting a moment right. You can go in and create something very good, very quickly. That’s a different challenge to having five, six weeks to rehearse a play.” - Lesley Manville
Chadwick Boseman on ‘Black Panther’ and How He Refocused His Career
"As soon as I came to L.A., things immediately shifted for me." - Chadwick Boseman
Bernadette Peters on Returning to Broadway and Why She is Still Trying to Improve Her Craft
"You have to do your best to fulfill the role, not fulfill yourself" - Bernadette Peters
Ellen Pompeo: “Acting, to me, is boring”
"Anybody can be good on a show season one and two. Can you be good 14 years later? Now, that's a f*ckin' skill." - Ellen Pompeo