A version of this story first appeared in the print edition of TheWrap Magazine’s Emmy The Race Begins Issue.
Rami Malek was one of the few people who wasn’t surprised by the twists that came late in the first season of “Mr. Robot,” the USA drama in which he plays an antisocial but gifted hacker who gets sucked into an overarching conspiracy as he fights to maintain a tenuous grasp on reality.
“I had to keep my mouth shut for a while,” he said of the pressure of being privy to all of creator Sam Esmail‘s secrets. “As much as you might think that’s fun to know something nobody else does, there’s a sense of impending doom that you might spill the beans.”
Malek called the show “sly and provocative,” a good description of a dark drama that has already been honored at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards. And his role as the gaunt, haunted Elliot Alderson has taken the 34-year-old actor of Egyptian descent out of the pigeonhole of ethnic roles in which actors who look like him have often toiled.
“I would not have been the lead in a TV show five years ago,” he said flatly. “This role, and the choice of me to play it, reflects the changing landscape of entertainment and culture today.”
And does playing such a gifted hacker make him more cautious about his own security? “Yeah,” he said immediately. “Don’t you worry that someone’s on this phone call right now trying to get information about the next season from both of us? That’s why I’m not on my cellphone.”
Mr. Robot returns to USA for its second season starting July 16.
See more of TheWrap Magazine’s Emmy Issue The Race Begins: