Mr. Robot at the Tribeca Film Festival
USA Network’s new mysterious thriller series, Mr. Robot, isn’t set for its official television premiere for a few more days, but that hasn’t stopped some reviewers from sounding its praises. The headline for Merrill Barr’s review of the show at Forbes.com declares it “The Best Show of the Summer and On Track to be a Modern Classic.”
That definitely sets expectations high! We can only hope this drama about an anti-social cyber security specialist named Elliot (Rami Malek), who gets recruited to infiltrate his own workplace by the enigmatic Mr. Robot, can live up to the hype. Did we mention that Mr. Robot is the mastermind behind a scheme to take down corporate America and that he’s played by Christian Slater in a role that returns him to the eclectic characters with whom he excels? And that Niels Arden Oplev of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) fame directed the pilot episode? Mr. Robot’s chances of fulfilling those expectations are sounding better by the second…
At 2015’s Tribeca and South By Southwest festivals, attendees had the chance to screen Mr. Robot’s pilot episode in advance of its network premiere on June 24, 2015. On the red carpet before the Tribeca event, we spoke with series creator Sam Esmail and the show’s stars about what makes the plot such a compelling concept to explore, what makes the characters’ tick, and how everyone involved knew Mr. Robot was quality television by the end of the script. Even USA Network’s president, Chris McCumber, made it a priority to attend the screening!
Will Mr. Robot’s machinations come together for good? We’ll just have to tune-in to find out. The pilot episode is already available to watch through Vudu, Hulu, and Google Play.
Not every mastermind gets to have Coney Island as their headquarters! That and a love for Twinkies set Mr. Robot apart from the crowd, at least according to his portrayer, Christian Slater. Learn what Slater believes drives Mr. Robot’s actions within the show, and get his take on what sort of series Mr. Robot is at its core.
Malek breaks down the ways in which Elliot is suffering at the show’s onset and how he finds Elliot’s perseverance despite the weights he carries inspiring. He calls names Elliot an unlikely hero, one we may find ourselves rooting for despite his less attractive qualities. Malek also reveals that he may have stolen a few aspects of his portrayal from Director Oplev’s previous work.
Sam Esmail gave himself quite the task in coming up with the Mr. Robot concept: giving us an authentic portrayal of the hacker culture! Hollywood has certainly given that life a lot of questionable treatments. Additionally, Esmail wanted to capture the revolutionary spirit hackers often embrace, especially in this day and age in which such people can have a genuine effect on the world. Using anger for positive change has always captured his imagination. Writing for television rather than the big screen may be doing the same for him….
Even with the power of a cable network at his fingertips, finding a creator with a plan isn’t always easy for Chris McCumber. Sam Esmail’s 5-year one definitely gave the USA executive the confidence he could carry through! More than a plan, though, Esmail has created unique characters and an intriguing show that McCumber is sure will appeal to a younger demographic, one that USA just so happens to be courting.
After spending a season under the thumb of Francis Underwood as President Walker on House of Cards, who could blame Michael Gill for wanting to cut loose? He fills us in on his Mr. Robot character, Gideon, who plays Elliot’s boss at the cyber security firm. Turns out company management isn’t quite as restrictive as the management of a country! But it is potentially as fascinating; Gill had the same good feelings about this show as he did about House of Cards. Can’t argue against that intuition!
Portia Doubleday portrays Angela on the show, whom she describes in this clip as Elliot’s corporate doppelganger. Doubleday touches on the relevance of the show to today’s headlines then effuses over the warmth shared between the cast and crew. Esmail gets most of the credit for fostering that atmosphere because he’s such a passionate and approachable showrunner—a circumstance that isn’t always the case in Hollywood!
Don’t tell Suburgatory’s writers, but Mr. Robot is the best pilot Carly Chaikin has ever read. Chaikin plays Darlene, whom she explains is part of Mr. Robot’s underground network of hackers and is a complete badass at writing code. The smart script’s political bent was instantly engaging for Chaikin, as was the energy among the cast.