Nora Dominick ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Co-Executive Stage Editor
It’s one of the biggest breakout hits of 2015, Mr. Robot has taken TV by storm this past year. With unexpected twists, compelling characters and rich storytelling, Mr. Robot is the TV drama you NEED to be watching.
At SDCC 2016, Christian Slater sat down with us to talk about the big, jaw-dropping plot twist in season one, what’s ahead for season two and much more. Spoilers ahead!
When first sitting down, Slater couldn’t help but take in the amount of love for Mr. Robot emanating throughout the press room. He reflects about SDCC 2015, when himself and Rami Malek came to original promote the show. “Rami and I were here last year and we were just introducing the show to everybody and the fact that the people have responded to it in the way that they have. We are all extraordinarily grateful.”
Discussing season one, Slater talks about the major plot twist that is revealed in “eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt” when fans learn Mr. Robot is a figment of Elliot’s imagination. Elliot is Mr. Robot. A massively discussed episode all TV season, Slater discusses what it’s like to play the character now that the secret is out. He says, “I think there is a level of freedom now. It certainly does give me the opportunity to feel a little bit more unleashed and push the envelope a little more.”
When talking about how this discovery will affect Elliot and Mr. Robot’s relationship, Slater says, “I think the relationship is just getting clearer and clearer. Now that the cat is out of the bag, what is the purpose of this. And why was I there? And what is the discovery of that and where is it going to go?” He continues saying, “I’m there to challenge Elliot. I’m there to do things he might not normally be able to do. And I’m also there to protect him. Give him an out at times when he is unable to follow through.”
One of the main discussions going into the highly-anticipated season two of Mr. Robot is how will the show change now that the audience (and Elliot) know about Mr. Robot. Slater touches on this by saying, “I had the same question for Sam [Esmail] of course. Where is this going to go and what was going to happen. You know, before we started doing season 2 he calls each of us and talks to us for about an hour and a half about the arc was going to be and what the whole journey is going to be next season.” He continues saying, “I was thrilled. I think it goes to some very unexpected places and still manages to surprise me. I had some very visceral when I was listening to scripts.”
Looking at season two as a whole, Slater discusses a little bit about the production process for season two. As stated in their Mr. Robot panel later in the day on Thursday, they shot season two like a movie. Any given day they could be shooting scenes from various episodes. Slater praises the preparation process saying, “The preparation that Sam puts into the beginning. He had written all the scripts, all the writer’s of course, had written all the scripts before we came back to do season 2.” He continues saying, “So, that’s just like a gift. To know all of that information going in is so helpful and raising the awareness of where you are going and what your motivations are.”
Season two certainly started off with a bang for Mr. Robot and Elliot. One of the pivotal moments in the premiere deals with Mr. Robot shooting Elliot in the head. Something that has apparently been happening daily. Slater discusses the acclaimed sequence saying, “So much of it goes into certainly Sam’s creativity. How he shoots it. Tod Campbell, our cinematographer, the way he shot that scene was I thought, quite amazing. I have a light sort of behind my head. There was certainly an angelic and devilish quality in that moment.” Slater reflects on reading the first script of season two saying, “When Sam told me when that was going to happen, when I read that in the first script of season 2, I was like ‘Oh god. This is nuts.'”
Slater says the struggle between Mr. Robot and Elliot only continues throughout season two. He says, “There is definitely a real power struggle going on between these two guys. I think the question at the end of the day might be, who is going Mr. Robot, really? I think it’s still a little bit of a question. How much power could I actually have over this human life?”
Christian Slater also talked about Elliot and Mr. Robot’s relationship as a whole. He talks about why Elliot is projecting his father in this way. Slater says, “I think I’ve always thought of that I’m an idealized projection of what he imagines his father to be. He was a very young boy when he passed away. So, he really looked up to his father and I think he’s starting to take on a personality all of his own.” He continues saying, “I think he imagines him as a larger than life, very powerful, very loving, but also at the same time, or other times, very scary personality to him. So, it’s just a very, very powerful dynamic. We have a very fascinating relationship for both Rami and myself to explore.”
Wrapping up the interview, Slater talks about his love and joy for returning to the Mr. Robot set for season two. He reflects saying, “Coming back to doing season 2 and opening up the dressing room door and seeing the outfit, the hat and the jacket. I just felt so at home again.” Slater continuously feels grateful for the opportunity to bring this larger-than-life character to the screen. He says, “I was so happy to get the opportunity to do that again.”