Welcome to Variety‘s new podcast “Remote Controlled,” which each week will bring conversations with some of the best and brightest professionals in television working behind and in front of the camera.
In this week’s pilot episode, Debra Birnbaum, Variety executive editor, television and Indiewire executive editor Michael Schneider chat with Sam Esmail, the writer-creator of smash hit USA Network show “Mr. Robot,” about the challenges of writing and directing and whether the show is following the course he originally intended.
“Mr. Robot” earned six nominations at last week’s Emmy’s and carried away two awards, including one for lead actor Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson. Esmail says on the podcast, recorded before the Emmys, that he is surprised the show has broken out in such a big way. However, the recognition for Malek was no surprise, given how striking his audition was.
For more, listen to the full episode of “Remote Controlled” below.
“We were auditioning people for the Elliot part and we were auditioning amazing actors and it wasn’t working and I would turn to Chad Hamilton, my executive producer, and I was like ‘I think the script is terrible it’s not working’…then Rami came in and just blew it out of the water, so that tells you how critical he is to the success of the show,” Esmail says.
Esmail, who previously worked on films including “Comet” and “Mockingbird,” also comments on the challenge of working in TV coming from a feature film background.
As both the writer for most of the show’s episodes and the director for all the season two episodes, Esmail says he has noticed that working in TV requires more stamina.
“I was directing in the morning, editing at night and then maybe doing a rewrite for the next episode,” Esmail told Birnbaum.
A new episode of “Remote Controlled” will be available every Friday.