#1 The North Wind.
A truly ambiguous character is that of Stephanie Corneliussen, the beautiful Danish actress who plays Tyrell’s wife, Joanna Wellick. In the last episode, Joanna meets Elliot and tells him a sentence in Danish, the only one that is not subtitled. We don’t know the reason for this choice but what Joanna says to the protagonist is “If you did something to him, I’ll kill you”.
Also, a small bonus, Stephanie Corneliussen has lent the face for the poster for American Horror Story: Asylum, the second season of the successful Ryan Murphy brand.
#2 Reality TV-Show.
As said before, Esmail wants to be as faithful as possible to reality. Which may sound like a paradox considering the protagonist’s dissociation. Without entering into philosophical debates, Esmail’s will is this: reality at all costs. And it goes far beyond simple locations. A well-known antivirus company showed the entire series to its employees to get feedback on the feasibility or otherwise of the various hacking done by the F-Society. And the results aren’t very good (depending on your point of view): it’s all, completely, doable.
#3 American landscape.
No to the greenscreen. An almost absolute no to special effects and fictitious locations. The producers strongly wanted to keep as long as possible that New York was the setting for Elliot’s mental frenzy. By excluding the dream scenes, the use of special effects is reduced to the bone. Even the screens that appear during the hacking moments are real and indicate what they are doing. And considering that we are talking about an American production, the fact creates news.
#4 A woman will save the world.
Finding a suitable actor to play Elliot wasn’t easy for Sam Esmail. Nobody convinced him enough and the work for the producer was becoming more and more difficult. By pure chance, Esmail’s partner proposed Rami Malek to him because she particularly liked The Pacific, the HBO series produced by the duo Hanks-Spielberg. And during the audition, it was “love at first sight” between the creator and the actor.
#5 The Stanislavsky 2.0 method.
The sad end of Heath Ledger is now history. The posthumous Oscar-winning actor had fallen a little too much into the character of the Joker, so much so that he never came out. Something similar also happened to Rami Malek. In an interview released last summer, the actor said he became paranoid after stepping into Elliot’s shoes. It seems by now that he doesn’t use his computer or smartphone that much today as he has noticed how our sensitive data is really at risk.
#6 Beyond simple jokes.
Sam Esmail wants to stay as true to reality as possible. So much so that the entire cast had to go through an intensive hacking workshop before filming, just to make it as plausible as possible. In addition, Rami Malek has also learned to type to be as fast as possible with a keyboard in hand.
#7 Driving taxis, hacking the world.
A New Yorker disappointed by the company that wants to revolutionize the world. A little bit to describe Mr. Robot, even less to describe Taxi Driver. But the commonality is almost identical (the final implications obviously not). Travis Bickle, the disappointed taxi driver of Taxi Driver, was another character from which Rami Malek drew inspiration to better tell his loneliness and his desire to change the world.
#8 A character for two.
Only the most attentive will have noticed a singular fact that almost “spoils” the condition of Elliot. No character looks towards Christian Slater when acting with Rami Malek. This choice, strongly desired, is linked to the fact that they wanted to give the impression of the complete absence of the character. An alarm bell that warns that not everything is as it seems.
#9 Elliot and the delusional theorem.
As said before, the similarities between Mr. Robot and Fight Club are innumerable and under the eyes of all. The disturbed and dissociated personality of our Mr. Robot travels parallel to that of Edward Norton / Brad Pitt, complete with his alter ego on display. But his uncontrollable paranoia seems to travel hand in hand with that of Sean Gullet, the mathematician protagonist of The Theorem of Delirium, Aronofsky’s first work. Maximilian Cohen’s character was a source of inspiration for Rami Malek.
#10 Psycho Robot: Tyrell Bateman or Patrick Wellick?
Charming, well dressed and apparently confident. Tyrell Wellick, the manager of the E-Corp refers a lot to Patrick Bateman, the character played by Christian Bale in the eponymous film based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Both are wealthy managers who, however, having removed their work clothes, have a dark parallel life.