Rosanne Tan Interview: ‘Mr. Robot’ editor
Rosanne Tan edited some of the most significant episodes of the final season of “Mr. Robot,” including the premiere, the dialogue-free fifth episode and Episode 8, where Elliot (Rami Malek) finds his father’s key. Tan joined for Season 3 of the series, having previously been a major fan and she knew it was going to be a major season going into the fourth. “I was excited, nervous, I think all the feelings,” Tan says in an exclusive video interview with Gold Derby. “Even before reading the script I just knew Sam [Esmail] and the writers would be creating something amazing for all of us to come back to.” Watch the exclusive interview with Tan above.
Tan was able to show off her editing skills in the first few moments of Season 4, where the “Previously on” segment blended seamlessly with the start of the premiere episode. “Musically, Mac Quayle‘s score had to bring us out of the recap into the show itself. We did many things and I’m so glad it worked out,” she says. “It was a huge surprise and we wanted it to be a surprise for the fans.”
While the premiere also featured a complicated sequence of cross-cutting between Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) in Grand Central Station and Elliot on a subway train, the fifth episode proved even more daunting for Tan. Outside of a brief moment at the beginning and end, Episode 5 was presented entirely without dialogue as Elliot and Darlene pull off a heist at a server farm. That admittedly made Tan very nervous as she realized, “It’s gonna have to be seamless with music and score and how the cutting works.” Her process involves creating a presentation for Esmail with the best possible temp sound and temp music. “Basically, when he sees it as a presentation it has to be as perfect as possible and that’s great because … as editors, it challenges us to want to do our best work.”
Being part of “Mr. Robot” has been rewarding for Tan creatively in ways she hasn’t always found working on other projects. “I’ve worked on many shows where I don’t get to dive into all these different styles and just try to think outside of the box as much as possible and do something so different almost each time and still keeping grounded within the show,” she explains. Her work garnered an ACE Eddie Award nomination earlier this year for the Season 4 premiere, an acknowledgment from her peers she still finds unbelievable. “I keep telling myself, is it real? It’s like what Elliot goes through, like, ‘Is this real, is this happening?'”