Here's Everything You Need to Know About the Mr. Robot SXSW Panel
Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, along with stars Rami Malek and Christian Slater, participated in a SXSW panel on Sunday called “Coding on Camera: Mr. Robot and Authenticity on TV.” The conversation was moderated by Entertainmet Weekly's Kevin Sullivan.
Amidst the charming banter, the cast and creator revealed some new insights about the second season (which just started filming in New York), talked about some current events that may influence the direction of the show, and shared how they developed the characters we’ve grown to love so much.
Read on for 11 insights from the Mr. Robot panel, and take a look at our exclusive photos from Mr. Robot’s weekend at SXSW.
1. Season two will deal with the debate over encryption and privacy that has recently been in the news with Apple. But Esmail pointed out that he was working on it before it entered the news because it is that important a conversation. “I’m not a fortune teller,” he joked, before Rami added, “I ask him for lottery numbers every week.”
2. Even though he doesn’t feel it’s his job to make commentary about events like the FBI and Apple debate, Esmail thinks it’s his job as a filmmaker to bring it up and give people the information they need to have a more informed conversation about it, and that’s what he hopes Mr. Robot will do.
3. Before they started filming season one, Malek practiced typing so that he would look more believable as Elliot. When asked if he's had any homework before season two, Malek said that he had very specific research, but he couldn’t reveal any more. Despite all his pre-shoot homework, Malek is still not fluent in any tech languages, such as Java or Python.
4. They revealed a fun fact about shooting last season’s shocking scene in the cemetery. It was a cast member’s birthday, so they brought out cake to celebrate. “It was weird,” Esmail pointed out.
5. You may have been shocked by last season’s big twist, but Esmail explained about how that wasn’t his goal. “I thought we were telegraphing it from the beginning," he said. "I didn’t want to trick the audience. It’s not about getting ‘gotcha moments.’”
6. Esmail will direct every episode in season two, but everyone was quick to point out that he was on set pretty much every day last season. Malek is a huge fan of Esmail's decision to direct. “I was doing my best work when he was around, and that goes for the rest of the cast and crew,” he said, which was met with a strong agreement from Slater.
7. The second season just started shooting, and they’re filming it like a movie, which means they’re shooting based on location and therefore will be shooting episodes out of order. Malek mentioned that he shot scenes from the seventh episode on his first day of filming.
8. It’s no question that Elliot’s voice over was a very prominent part of the show’s first season, and Esmail pointed out that it was present from the very beginning. “I talk to myself,” he told the panel.
9. Creating the rich character of Elliot was very important to everyone last season. They really wanted to avoid the classic cliché “nerd,” so Esmail and Malek chose to focus on Elliot’s insecurities. This allowed them to create a darkness around Elliot that was more relatable.
10. When asked what to expect from season two, Esmail mentioned that Grace Gummer was cast. He explained that last season Elliot committed a crime, and we’re going to see the ramifications of that in season two. The introduction to law enforcement was intentionally left out of last season.
11. Slater, Malek, and Esmail were also all very gracious about the overwhelming fan support over the past year. Last year, the show won the SXSW Audience Award, and this year, it returned with a massive event, a huge Ferris wheel, and a packed panel room. Honoring the fans of Mr. Robot is incredibly important to everyone involved with the show.
Watch the full Mr. Robot SXSW panel, "Coding on Camera: Mr. Robot and Authenticity on TV," here: