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Christian Slater is in familiar anarchic skin as 'Mr. Robot,' but it’s just an act — really

Christian Slater is in familiar anarchic skin as 'Mr. Robot,' but it’s just an act — really
“What was interesting about doing Season 1 is we didn’t know what was going to happen from week to week," says "Mr. Robot" star Christian Slater. "We would just shoot each episode and … it was always very unique and very surprising.” (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

The mind-bending "Mr. Robot" represents new narrative territory for Christian Slater, as it would for most actors. But the titular role, the cyber-anarchist who sets a global economic collapse in motion, fits into the CV of the veteran of such counterculture roles as "Heathers" and "Pump Up the Volume."

"Perhaps those roles choose me somehow," said Slater on a visit this week to the Los Angeles Times video studio. "I don't go out there specifically [thinking] 'This would be right for me.' But somehow directors, producers have seen me somehow as sort of an anarchist character. It's the least thing from what I actually am; I don't think I'm too much of an anarchist," he said, later explaining his favorite activities include walking his dogs and doing the dishes, "but somehow they see me as sort of a devilish, causing-trouble sort of guy. It's not ever what I try to do. At least I get to exercise that in these projects I've been attached to."

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"Mr. Robot" has become known for its whiplash plot twists and narrative tricks. Slater, who's now a producer on the show, said creator Sam Esmail now lets the cast in on the entire season's plan from the start, but it wasn't always that way.

What was interesting about doing Season 1 is we didn’t know what was going to happen from week to week.


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“What was interesting about doing Season 1 is we didn’t know what was going to happen from week to week. We would just shoot each episode and … each time we’d sit in the read-through room and read through these scripts, it was always very unique and very surprising,” he said. “There was something fun about it being each and every week. Particularly for me. I really enjoyed being surprised. And from what I heard, I was very verbal at those read-throughs. A lot of, ‘What?!’ – a lot of excited, emphatic noises.”

The actor is clearly thrilled to be continuing with the show, which resumes production in November.

"I'm really interested in what's going to happen in Season 4. The possibilities, I think, are endless. We could certainly go back in time, I think, and look at what actually happened. I'm curious as to why the relationship between he and his wife became so complicated and difficult. What is it that she's really so upset and angry about? So, hopefully, Sam will be willing to explore a lot of those dynamics. I'd be interested very much in seeing those aspects of the show that we don't know about yet being explored."

You can watch the entire interview, complete with a question Slater suspects was submitted by costar Martin Wallström (who plays Tyrell Wellick), below.

The "Mr. Robot" actor says those roles choose him: "Somehow directors, producers have seen me as sort of an anarchist-type character ... devilishly causing trouble sort of guy."
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