Hack at­tack!

Rami Malek’s Mr Ro­bot char­ac­ter El­liot Alder­son takes so­cially awk­ward cy­ber geek to a whole new level.

TV Plus (South Africa) - - STRAIGHT FROM HOLLYWOOD -

Be­ing awk­ward is noth­ing new to Rami Malek, who plays hacker El­liot in Mr Ro­bot. Sea­son 2 Thurs­days M-Net Edge (*102) 21:00

Mr Ro­bot (2015- cur­rent) was one of last year’s sur­prise hits. Few ex­pected that a thriller about com­puter hack­ers and cy­ber-ter­ror­ism would gather a mas­sive cult fol­low­ing, as well as reap­ing mul­ti­ple awards for se­ries stars Rami Malek (as de­pressed, drug­gie cy­ber se­cu­rity ex­pert El­liot) and Chris­tian Slater (as El­liot’s late dad and cy­ber ter­ror­ist Mr Ro­bot). Mr Ro­bot is a dark and com­pli­cated story, full of shock­ing twists and turns, like the re­veal that El­liot and Mr Ro­bot are the same per­son. It’s a tricky sto­ry­line to fol­low – good thing we could ask 35-year-old Rami about the show!

It’s quite un­usual that you get all of the scripts to­gether at the start of film­ing. Did that change the way you played anything? Hav­ing ev­ery­thing ahead of time was the req­ui­site from the stu­dio. Hav­ing that at your dis­posal al­lows you to chart a path for your char­ac­ter. El­liot does go to some pretty dark places – I thought that I had him down at the end of the first sea­son, but I re­alised af­ter read­ing these [sea­son 2] scripts that I didn’t even re­ally scratch the sur­face of who this guy is. And now, deal­ing with his evo­lu­tion of the re­la­tion­ship to Mr Ro­bot, there was so much more to dig into this sea­son. You see parts of El­liot com­ing to terms with where he is in his re­al­ity right now. El­liot and his hacker group are out­siders. Do you feel much like an out­sider? A lit­tle bit less so than when I was start­ing on Mr Ro­bot. I thought about this when they were cast­ing and I had doubts if it was go­ing to be me be­cause I don’t think you had seen some­one play a role like this and be the lead of a show. I’m sure that it’s hap­pened, but with my eth­nic­ity be­ing Egyp­tian, I thought that it was go­ing to be a real hard sell. But I think that’s the chang­ing land­scape of en­ter­tain­ment today and I’ve al­ways felt like an out­sider in the way I think and just want­ing to be an ac­tor. All the kids I grew up with had dif­fer­ent as­pi­ra­tions and com­ing from a world where I’m ex­pected to be a doc­tor or a lawyer, my fam­ily never re­ally thought that act­ing would be the most lu­cra­tive and easy busi­ness – and it isn’t un­til you get to a cer­tain point. How have fans re­ceived you? What I’m most proud of is fan­mail from peo­ple who have men­tal health dis­or­ders or So how is your knowl­edge of com­put­ers, tech­nol­ogy and hack­ing? Not very good [Laughs] It’s a work in progress. I’d like to think that those as­pects are some of my best act­ing be­cause it’s some­thing that I’m not adept to. But I have help – we have a lot of tech­ni­cal ad­vi­sors. You’re be­ing recog­nised a lot now, thanks to Mr Ro­bot… It’s wild – when we started, I could walk down the street and no one knew who I was. The re­sponse is amaz­ing and I’ll stop for any­one – if you’re a fan of the show and know who I am and who I’m play­ing, that means the world to me. It just means get­ting to the gro­cery store and movies takes a lot longer some­times [Laughs]…

Our celebrity cor­re­spon­dent

Mar­garet Gar­diner is a mem­ber of the Hol­ly­wood For­eign Press As­so­ci­a­tion. Born in SA, the for­mer Miss Uni­verse win­ner now lives in LA. She’s writ­ten two books and reg­u­larly in­ter­views show­biz’s big­gest stars.

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