You may have watched every episode of Season 1. You may have an fsociety sticker on your laptop, quick fingers on the keyboard and a black hoodie over your head. You may be counting down the minutes until Season 2 of “Mr. Robot” premieres Wednesday (July 13) at 10 p.m. ET/PT. But you still wouldn’t know everything about USA Network’s groundbreaking drama.
Recently, Zap2it caught up with the stars of “Mr. Robot,” and got them to spill more secrets than a corrupted server. Read on for 10 things you don’t know about the show — straight from the mouths of those who know it best.
The aloha state
After the heaviness of Season 1, Malek found himself dressing during hiatus in ways that Elliot never would. “I wore a Hawaiian shirt to an event last night and everyone was like ‘Hmm, that’s interesting.’ I got a lot of pros and cons,” he says. “But I’m like ‘You’d better get used to it.’ Because this is my look for the summer — and it’s hot as balls in New York.”
Skate or die
If you’re under the age of … say … thirty, you might think Malek is a pretty cool guy. But you might want to take a closer look at the guy in the baseball cap whispering in his ear, because Christian Slater spent his teenage years starring in movies like “Heathers” and the skateboarding cult hit “Gleaming the Cube.” “I had Stacy Peralta as my trainer for that movie,” Slater remembers of the skateboarding pioneer who directed “Dogtown and Z-Boys” in 2001. “They brought in all the best guys. I was skating up and down Hollywood Boulevard with Stacy Peralta when I was 16 years old.”
Series mastermind Sam Esmail clearly has a road map in his head — and much like the fans, the actors are eager for information. However, his meticulous forethought is matched only by his secrecy, so he went to unusual lengths to make sure the actors all learned the show’s secrets together. “This is what I will say about the second season,” reveals Portia Doubleday. “We didn’t get all the scripts. We had to read the last four as a group, together, for the first time.”
All Hallows’ Eve
Rami Malek says that the sight that cemented the show’s hit status came last fall, when he became aware of “Mr. Robot” trick-or-treaters walking the streets. “I saw the pictures for Halloween, and some of them were amazing,” he recalls, offering up a smile. “I’ve got to give it up to the fans; the fan art has been incredible, and people dressing up as Elliot and Mr. Robot and Darlene have been phenomenal. I look forward to people donning masks and hoodies all over again this year, it just shows you the reach we’ve had.”
It it real, or is it Mr. Robot?
When Christian Slater initially agreed to play Elliot’s father, he had no idea that (spoiler alert!) he was meant to be a figment of the hacker’s deranged subconscious. “I was intrigued by the character, and I said yes,” he recalls. “But I was very suspicious about this guy and what the story was, because he was very mysterious in the pilot. When I asked Sam about it he said ‘Do you really want to know?’ and I said ‘Yes,’ and when he told me the answer … I got very excited.”
‘I don’t know if I’m right’
According to Portia Doubleday, Esmail’s greatest talent is that he is confident enough to do one thing that very few directors can: Admit that he doesn’t have all the answers. “This is the best thing about working on the show, as an actor. He says ‘I don’t know if I’m right. You might be right. Why don’t you come at me with something?'” she explains. “That’s unique, and it opens the story for us to have an insane creative freedom. I can take risks, and having him steer the ship, I know I won’t fall on my face.”
On a tear
According to Malek, Elliot won him over in the pilot’s script with a tear — and he was hoping the scene would have the same effect on you, the viewer. “I did a scene in the pilot with just this child-like crying,” he explains. “I walked out after, had a breather outside and Sam followed me, saying ‘Are you okay? How did you do that?’ I told him, I said: ‘The story you wrote for this guy just hit me.’ That type of loneliness and tragedy is something that resonated with me, and I could access it … when you have moments like that, it allows the audience to latch onto him.”
Although the show is made by USA Network, which is owned by Universal, it was a rival studio that may have been most influential in getting “Mr. Robot” on the air. “When we made the pilot, Sam was a guy who was paying attention to things other people weren’t; he talked about the Walmart hack, the Target hack and Arab Spring,” remembers Slater. “Then we make a pilot, and the Sony hack happens, and it becomes a much more culturally-relevant issue. That was great for the show … just scary to be living in a world where that kind of stuff happens.”
Born into it
The phrase “born to play the role” might be a bit melodramatic, but it’s safe to say that Rami Malek has been preparing to play Elliot his entire life. “I’ve always been a really sensitive guy who wears his heart on his sleeve,” explains the actor. “As a child, everything affected me in a deep way. Like any human, we get scared — so for me, it’s easy to access that pain … with Elliot, his pain has become my pain, that loneliness becomes my loneliness. It just seems to work.”
Let’s be honest here: Lots of people saw the Tyler Durden-like plot twist with Mr. Robot coming a mile away. But according to Portia Doubleday, Season 2 is designed to be much harder to read. “You’re not going to be able to predict shit,” she laughs.”We like to pin [Sam Esmail] down in cars, on the way to functions. Because otherwise, he’s not easy to crack. There’s something that happens this season, and I said ‘I need to know this’ and he said ‘I can’t tell you.’ I finally said ‘I need to know what happens, or I’m not going to know how to play this!’ Then, he gave me a little something.”
Reporting by Aaron Pruner