In this exclusive, deep-dive interview Esmail goes long on the making of ‘Mr. Robot’ and his upcoming projects.
If you’re a fan of Mr. Robot and the way creator-writer-director Sam Esmail told his brilliant story about hacker Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) over four seasons at USA Network, I’m about to make you very happy. That’s because I recently conducted an extended, exclusive interview with Esmail where we talked about everything from how Stanley Kubrick influenced Mr. Robot to why the Back to the Future script is perfect. Of course, since the main reason we spoke was for Mr. Robot, we spent a huge amount of time talking the series, including where the idea came from, what it was like for him to direct all the episodes in Seasons 2, 3, and 4, why he was so guarded about not telling people the ending, the way the series dealt with mental health, how he came up with episode 407 (which revealed a lot about Elliot and was shot like a play over five days), why we aren’t getting a 4k Blu-ray box set anytime soon, and so much more it would be impossible to list it all here.
In addition, with Esmail busy with so many other projects, he also provided updates on the status of the Peacock limited series Angelyne with Emmy Rossum (they still have more to shoot), and his Netflix movie Leave the World Behind with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington (they hope to film later this year). He also talked about how he’s writing a big R-rated sci-fi movie, his love of Denis Villeneuve, and more.
Finally, while I could go on and on about why I consider Mr. Robot to be one of the best series of the past decade (amazing performances, inventive scripts, and extraordinary filmmaking) if you have never seen an episode, I’ll just say Mr. Robot is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video and I strongly recommend checking it out. And if you missed what Esmail told me about his Battlestar Galactica reboot or his upcoming ABC pilot Acts of Crime, click the links.
Check out the interview in the player above and below is a full list of everything we talked about.
- What TV series would he like to guest write and direct?
- If he could get the financing to make anything he wants what would it be and why?
- Why he’s concerned about the theatrical model and adult sci-fi.
- His love of Denis Villeneuve.
- How Kubrick influenced Robot and the way he was introduced to his work.
- Why 2001 stands on its own and why the Back to the Future script is perfect.
- Why Kubrick is Mount Rushmore but he is all the faces.
- Does he think anyone will ever make the Kubrick Napoleon script?
- What’s the status of the Peacock limited series Angelyne with Emmy Rossum?
- What’s the status of the Metropolis pilot?
- What’s up with his Netflix movie with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington?
- Where did the idea for Robot come from?
- How much did he tell USA Network when he pitched them the series?
- How he didn’t want to tell people the ending and only told Malek the ending between season two and three.
- How did he end up with the different episode counts in each season?
- How after Season 3 they went into the writer’s room and still thought it would be a five season series but as they started planning it out he realized it would only be four with thirteen episodes.
- Did he feel any additional pressure with the great reviews and fan reaction?
- Were there any big changes that happened along the way that he wasn’t expecting?
- What it was like when the series took off and Christian Slater’s reaction.
- How did he pull off directing all the episodes in Season 2, 3, and 4?
- How it was 100 days to direct a season and they would shoot out of order.
- Did he get sick after each season wrapped?
- How they had all the scripts done for each season before they started filming.
- How John Wells had talked to him about the way he works and why he credits USA for being such a great partner.
- Why having all the scripts done before filming begins is so key from a production standpoint.
- How there are still Easter eggs that have not been found?
- Where did the idea for the fsociety mask come from and how he spoke to someone from anonymous about how they decided to use the V for Vendetta mask.
- Did he ever walk around Comic-Con wearing the fsociety mask?
- How did he decide where he wanted to place the camera?
- How he learned certain scenes it is pointless to be too prepared.
- If the budget was ever talked about in the writers room?
- Are there any deleted scenes he would like to be added back into an episode?
- How did they figure out in the writers room how the hacking would be depicted?
- How has making Robot changed the way he operates online in real life?
- The way they tackled mental health in the series.
- How he came up with episode 407 which all takes place in one location and reveals a lot of information about Elliot?
- Why he shot episode 407 with eight cameras and shot like a play over five days with an act a day.
- How long did it take to write episode 407?
- Did he ever battle with USA over the series?
- Have they talked about doing a special box set of the entire series?
- How they never finished the series in 4K so there is no version to release unless they spend a lot of money to release it in that format.
Find out what movie Wright loved so much he saw it four times in five days.
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