MR. ROBOT’S Sam Esmail On His Dark and Timely Creation
BY Abbey White
Published 8 years ago
Mr. Robot’s overnight success was surprising to most, but perhaps less so to the series creator Sam Esmail.
Esmail had been working on the pilot for the hacker drama for several years before it managed to get picked up — on the day the Sony hack was announced no less.
From that point on, his breakout hit climbed to the top of viewers’ and critics’ must-watch charts and continued to be timely in a way no other series on television has been to date. This type of success is in large part due to Esmail’s uncanny ability to double down on what it means to write a stylish, smart and relatable story.
His appearance this past weekend at New York Comic Con, along with the entire Mr. Robot cast, revealed even more so that recognizing what a good story is and having a little bit of timing can make for the most perfect of television storms.
Before Esmail sat with his cast on the Friday panel at Hammerstein Ballroom, ScreenSpy had the chance to chat with the show creator, writer and director about how he constructed the dark and sharp world of Mr. Robot.
Here are five things we learned from that discussion.
Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broken
Unlike with many other television shows, Esmail wrote all of season one before any filming took place. It’s an interesting approach to producing a story for the small screen, and during the interview Esmail shared that he plans to continue doing so before heading into season two.
“With a show like this, it’s weird to even call it episodic because we don’t even think about it like that,” he said. “There’s so many little things we’re setting up in episode two that pays off in episode eight, it’s hard to just write as we shoot. We look at it more like we’re making a feature.”
This method of story production also affords Esmail to think further ahead about where the story might be going — and just how far it can go. According to the writer and director, the show has a very specific expiration date. So if given the opportunity, how many seasons does he think it will take to completely tell Mr. Robot‘s story?
“Probably like four. I always say four, max five. In my head I kind of mapped out a little bit about how we’re ending and the stages to get there,” Esmail explains.