Q&A: Rami Malek stays humble in the face of overwhelming acclaim for ‘Mr. Robot’

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Rami Malek’s phone is having a rough couple of days.

Just a day after the star of USA’s critically acclaimed “Mr. Robot” was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award, he received a second day of congratulatory texts, this time for nabbing a Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a drama.

The series, renewed for a second season before a single episode had aired, follows a paranoid hacker who’s left wondering if he can trust himself or anyone around him during his pursuit to bring down one of the biggest corporations in the world.

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Malek took time to talk to us by phone about being surrounded by talented individuals, the groundswell of “Mr. Robot” support and what he hopes for each night before bed.

Walk me through this morning. Where were you when you heard the news?

I was at my home and all at once my phone, I felt like it was going to explode.

After the Screen Actors Guild nominations yesterday and the Golden Globe nominations today, will it be strange when your phone doesn’t blow up at 5 a.m. tomorrow?

I’m going to ride this wave for quite a while. This is not ever why I got into this. I love what I do as a career, but I have to say when the recognition comes in like this, it’s at once humbling and full of pride. It’s a really sweet moment.

The Golden Globes is special because it’s not just you getting recognized, it’s also costar Christian Slater as well as the show as a whole. What’s it like having the entire production recognized as opposed to being singled out?

It’s well deserved, I think. First of all, there’s this confluence of amazingly talented, artistic individuals that we get to work with on a daily basis. I feel almost as if they should all be recognized in some way. I think our show being recognized for best drama encompasses that.


I have to extend my admiration and respect for Sam Esmail who is a visionary with what he’s done with “Mr. Robot,” and this brilliant resurgence of Christian Slater only helped us get where we are today -- very talented individual.

As the first season of “Mr. Robot” aired it saw a lot of critical acclaim for the show as a whole, now that you’re getting awards attention for your performance specifically, is that gratifying in a certain way?

Every night I go to bed and hope that I did everything I could to make the show as powerful as it could be. I get to take that home with me every evening. Sometimes that’s just enough for me, but to have these two awards come in and be as resounding as they are, of course it’s something that I will hold dear for quite awhile. It feels very uniquely special to be recognized both by my peers and by a prolific organization like the Hollywood Foreign Press.

Is it exciting or is it a little intimidating to be nominated in a category with the likes of Jon Hamm and Liev Schreiber?

They’re all men that I admire and respect and who I’ve learned from. Counting myself amongst them is a uniquely humbling place to be.

In addition to the awards attention, “Mr. Robot” is also garnering a lot of traction as far as year-end “Best of the Year” lists go. Is it overwhelming at all to be a part of something that is so praised across the board? Does it seem unreal?


It’s been kind of a graduation with every episode, you could feel something unfolding that was unique and affecting. It had this swell, almost like a movement. I feel like we’ve reached a very high point with where we are with that, and I think more people will get a chance to be a part of that movement with this recognition.

I will say that it is a profound place to be where you are recognized on this level.

Have you actively started work on season two yet?

We have! Not shooting it, but it is in the works and they are writing as we speak.