The cast of USA Network’s “Mr. Robot” made their Comic-Con debut on Thursday night, with stars Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday and Season 2 addition Grace Gummer on hand to discuss everything from the new season to the cast’s feelings on Pokemon Go and “The Bachelorette.”
The new season will only escalate the conflicts and tensions of Season 1 for all the characters, according to the cast. Doubleday teased that Angela, who’s already taken a dark turn thanks to her new corporate job, will continue down that path this season: “I think that there’s something really dangerous to be said about her obsession with these affirmations. What that’s stemming from is something quite explosive. She’s a troubling character, and we see that shift from Season 1 to Season 2,” she admitted. “She’s very malleable, which is also very exciting, because you don’t really know what’s going to happen with her. She still has a very strong sense of who she is. I didn’t know what was going to happen with her arc at the end of the season, I asked [creator Sam Esmail] so many questions. What ends up happening, I think no one will be able to predict.”
The actors are already big fans of Gummer’s character, FBI field agent Dominique “Dom” DiPierro, who is tasked with tracking down the culprits behind last season’s EvilCorp hack. “What you see at first is not what you’re gonna get, like everybody else she’s a very complicated, layered weirdo,” Gummer said of Dom. “She uses her work to cover up her own issues that she deals with. I see her as a bright light in a dark world. She’s trying to find the people who turned the lights out. She has an instinct about who did it and why they did it and she’ll stop at nothing to find that out.” Gummer admitted that she was a big fan of Season 1 and watched it for research purposes, because the consequences for many of the characters will hinge on her in Season 2.
Other Season 2 treats to expect in the current season include “a really cool hacking scene” in an upcoming episode, per Malek, who said that creator Sam Esmail shot the scene in “one really long take. I asked Sam to show it to me one day and it was pretty mesmerizing.”
During the Q&A, the cast demonstrated the easy chemistry that’s evident on screen, with Chaikin revealing that she and Slater have plenty of “deep conversations about ‘The Bachelorette'” while they’re filming. Slater agreed, quipping, “She’d better choose Luke!”
The reality series isn’t Slater’s only guilty pleasure; when a fan asked whether any of the cast members play Pokemon Go, the thesp sheepishly put up his hand, while Chaikin chided the audience, “Just from a ‘Mr. Robot’ standpoint, do you guys know what access you’re handing over when you sign up for that game?!”
Malek was effusive in his praise of Slater, gushing about his co-star and at one point apologetically observing, “I’m talking about you like you’re not here.” Without missing a beat, Chaikin said, “He’s not,” playing on Slater’s imaginary role. Malek rolled with the joke, addressing the audience instead of Slater as he continued, “What I love most about working with you…”
The star praised Slater’s ability to surprise him and keep scenes fresh. “Some of our best takes are our first takes because he constantly shocks me — I never know what he’s going to do.”
Slater discussed the dynamic between Elliot and Mr. Robot in Season 2, admitting that in Season 1, “Mr. Robot is an idealized version” of who Elliot wanted his father to be, “somebody very mysterious and powerful guiding him. “In Season 2 he’s trying to deal with that and place those restrictions” on what Mr. Robot can do, and Slater says that any time Elliot puts an obstacle in the way of Mr. Robot’s ultimate goals, “it really p—es me off.”
The cast was in high spirits at their first Comic-Con appearance, which was preceded by a snarky sizzle reel from fsociety which gloated about the success of their EvilCorp hack and invited the crowd to join them in their mission. “Now when we speak, the world listens, that’s why we’ve come here today, to the greatest Con in the world,” the masked hacker declared in the video, much to the delight of the packed ballroom. “We are fsociety, you are fsociety, and together, we can change the world!”
The cast also praised USA Network for standing behind the show, which often criticizes corporate culture and large conglomerate companies — many of which are in the TV production business.
“This is a very polarizing show; we say some crazy s–t about the world in general, there’s nothing we won’t broach, and that takes a really gutsy group of people to get behind something like that,” Malek noted. “Behind us are people who really took a chance on a show that could be polarizing and gave us the free rein to really say something. We’ve got some badasses on our side. They gave us the show, they gave you the show.”