Rami Malek received his due credit with a Best Actor win at the Academy Awards for Bohemian Rhapsody (2018). However, one venture that helped him grow and explore his potential as an actor was Mr. Robot (2015–2019). Sam Esmail’s four-part series saw Malek play the role of Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer and hacker with social anxiety disorder, clinical depression, and dissociative identity disorder. For his brilliant acting chops in Mr. Robot, Rami was also honored with an Emmy for Best Drama Actor in 2016.
Mr. Robot can easily be termed one of the best shows of recent times. However, finding a potential Elliot was a laborious task for creator Sam Esmail. But once he found Rami Malek, Esmail could not help but be in complete awe of the actor, whose ability to take control of the character in his unique way gave the show a fresh perspective. In fact, the actor’s portrayal of the genius hacker was so convincing that it potentially saved the show. Scroll ahead to learn more.
Rami Malek is one of the most talented actors in Hollywood. His impressive resume includes highly successful films such as Need for Speed, Papillon, No Time to Die, The Twilight Saga, and others. His portrayal of legendary Queen frontman Freddy Mercury in the 2018 Bohemian Rhapsody will go down in history as one of the best biopics ever made.
Rami got a cult following with Mr. Robot, which ended up winning numerous accolades and praise from fans. The show was lauded for exploring the unexplored, continuously pushing the envelope to create a unique blend of conspiracy thrillers and mind-bending experimental drama that was unlike anything ever seen on TV.
To undertake the role of a dark hacker suffering from psychological problems, Rami Malek attended information security seminars, took hacking lessons, and also went for sessions from a psychologist to understand the psyche of his character Elliot. Devoting himself to the role helped Malek tap into his hidden potential, as he managed to take complete control over his role brilliantly.
Not only did the actor handle the role with excellence, he also saved it, ensuring it appeared on screen exactly as it was initially intended. Creator Sam Esmail said that he would keep interviewing actors, but nobody gave him what he wanted. After a myriad of auditions, which led to multiple rejections, Sam Esmail got frustrated and wanted to rewrite the character.
Speaking about the ordeal that he went through to find his leading man, the director once said, “They would do these beautiful interpretations of the scene, but the character just came off very cold, very obnoxious, and I was almost going to tell USA [Network], so I got to rewrite this. I think this guy is annoying, and I don’t think anybody is going to want to spend every week with this person.”
However, everything changed for Esmail when Rami Malek showed up. Sam saw that Rami could bring his vision to life. Perfectly channeling the hacker’s dark persona while still managing to gain sympathy, Malek played the role of Elliot to perfection. He said that the actor was able to accurately convey Elliot’s psychological state—a vicious circle. “Then Rami came in, and when he did the scene, he added this vulnerability…And that was the spark that really made that character come to life,” Sam said.
Rami came at a time when Sam was almost going ahead with a new script, but his fourth-wall-breaking voice-over monologue convinced the director to go with the original script and dialogues.
Sam Esmail’s Mr. Robot not only gave Rami Malek his breakout role but also paved the way for anti-heroes to be the leading men.
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