Mr. Robot Staff Reveals the Fights (And Laughs) Inside the Writers' Room
The writers of USA Network’s Mr. Robot received an honor of their peers Saturday night when they took the Writers Guild Award for Best New Series of 2015.
Braving record cold for the New York City presentation of the Awards at the Theater District’s Edison Ballroom, Mr. Robot writers chatted with USA Network about working on season two, which will be directed entirely by series creator Sam Esmail.
“It’s great because when we’re in the writers’ room and we’re talking things through, [Esmail] already has the idea of how he’s going to visualize things and put them on the screen,” said Robot writer Courtney Looney about season two. “You trust that the idea is going to be portrayed really well in how it was initially meant to be from beginning to end.”
With Esmail directing every episode this time around, it has changed the process a bit -- for the better. “It’s a challenge -- but I think it will be a rewarding challenge in the end,” explained writer and co-executive producer Kyle Bradstreet. “We’re getting all of [the episodes] set up ahead of time before we start shooting, and, of course like any production, we’ll be making tweaks and re-writing along the way. We’re shooting four episodes at a time -- block shooting -- so you shoot a scene from episode one and then a scene from episode four. So, we gotta make sure everything tracks. It’s almost making us all sharper and paying more attention to the story because we have to get it right.”
In season one, six of the episodes were written prior to production, but all 10 episodes will be written before shooting begins on season two.
“Sam has a really good sense of where we’re going with the story and what’s happening with Eliot before we even start,” writer Kor Adana told USA Network. “The fact that he’s involved so intimately with the writing, with the directing, with the shooting, with the editing -- he’s so entrenched in every aspect of the show,” Adana said. “His stamp is all over it; it’s great.”
So what’s it like in the Mr. Robot writers’ room?
“There’s a lot of arguing,” Adana laughed. “There’s a lot of screaming, but it’s for the best, because we come out with a really, really good story.” Adana was clear that the “fights” between the writers aren’t really fights. “Everyone’s very, very passionate and we all want it to go somewhere specific and if it doesn’t -- if we don’t all align -- it’s that the best idea wins.”
According to Bradstreet and Adana, there are plenty of laughs in between the heated discussions. “We spend a lot of the day laughing and having fun,” said Bradstreet. “We bat around a lot of ideas and, even in our darkness, we find humor in them."
Adana seconded the sentiment that there’s plenty of levity in the Mr. Robot writers’ room, in spite of the show’s heavy themes. “There are a lot of inside jokes. We spend so much time with each other that, ever since October, we have these stupid little inside jokes that we always bring up over and over again in the room,” he told USA Network.
“It’s a mix of extremes,” the writer added with a smile. “We’re either screaming at each other or we’re making each other laugh. I’d say it’s 50-50… or maybe it’s 60-40.”
READ: 6 Revelations We Learned About Mr. Robot from TCA