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MR. ROBOT’S Sam Esmail On His Dark and Timely Creation

BY Abbey White

Published 7 years ago

MR. ROBOT'S Sam Esmail On His Dark and Timely Creation

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.

On Having An Astounding Level of Relevance

Speaking of, Mr. Robot‘s debut into the television landscape couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. With the massive waves caused by the Sony hack, the ongoing presence of hacker groups like Anonymous, and even the impact of former NSA employee Edward Snowden’s leaks, the series has become a commentary on the ever evolving dangers of giant information conglomerates, surveillance, and the online world.

So did Esmaill’s story concept get pick up due to its relevance? And is his overall story influenced by what’s happening in the tech world now? The answer to both questions is “a little bit.”

“I guess a little bit,” Esmail confessed. “For example, in episode two F-Society starts releasing the data dumps, revealing all the secrets of Evil Corp. That was something I had in my head before the Sony hack, but that’s something the hackers actually did in the Sony hack and was a major reason why Sony shut down for a while. It’s been weird. I wrote the pilot a few years ago now, and it just all of a sudden — with the timing of it getting very popular… We got picked up on the day the Sony hack got announced. It’s kinda uncanny.”

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