“It’s a phenomenal experience. That’s an absolute shock for a guy that’s wanted to act his whole life,” admits Rami Malek as we chat via webcam (watch above) about the recent awards success of his techno-thriller “Mr. Robot.” This USA Network hit won both the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award for Best Drama Series earlier this year. Malek, who was nominated by the HFPA, won with the critics. He readily admits, “To be considered among guys like Spacey and Hamm and all these talented actors and the ones that have gone before me, it’s nuts. It’s a really special and humbling experience. I tried not to pour myself too much champagne because I didn’t want to forget what it was all going to feel like.”
The first season of “Mr. Robot” aired last summer and focused on cyber-crime, cyber-activism, and hacking. The lead character of Elliot Alderson, played by Malek, is a young man in New York City who becomes increasingly more unhinged with social anxiety, depression, and delusions. His long-dead father (Christian Slater) starts appearing to him and recruits him as a vigilante hacker to take down a monstrous corporation. Those episodes are the ones eligible for the Emmy Awards in September, for which it has nominations as Best Drama Series and for Malek as Best Drama Actor.
We spoke with Malek in early June, a month before Emmy nominations were announced. Since then, he has submitted the pilot episode to voters. As he said back then, “When we shot this pilot, I thought, ‘Whoa! This is cool.’ Just reading I thought this thing has something to say. That’s what I look for in every script I’m reading.”
After a string of guest roles and smaller parts over the years, this is Malek’s first major taste of big-time fame. Regarding that he reveals, “Living in New York now and getting stopped in the streets, it’s crazy. You’ll never get used to that. Seeing my face on billboards and buses as they drive by. That’s something that will make you question if you’re in some sort of dream or reality.”
Second season episodes of “Mr. Robot” are now airing on USA. When it came to shooting a new season, he concedes, “After that first season, there’s an immense amount of pressure. People responded to it in the way they did, and there’s a bit of a monkey on your back going into season two. As soon as we stepped on set, there’s this overwhelming confidence like a well-oiled machine. Everybody, they just come with their ‘A’ game from every aspect.”
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