Rami Malek Talks 'Mr. Robot': "There Is Something Scary About Coming Out of the Gate So Strong"

"The only way to alleviate myself of that pressure is just to keep working, keep discovering, keep researching and go to that place every chance I could," said Malek of the high expectations for the second season of 'Mr. Robot.'

Mr. Robot star Rami Malek told The Hollywood Reporter during the Drama Actor Emmy Roundtable that he used to resent being typecast as the “quirky, or weird” guy. But since his breakout role as Elliot Alderson on the hit USA series, Malek has had a change of heart: “This is something to be proud of, that [I] can be that sort of outsider.”

Malek spoke to the increasing opportunities presenting themselves as a result of Mr. Robot's success saying, “Doors have definitely been opened, and I’ve gotten to read scripts and meet with directors I never would have had the opportunity to a year ago.” Still, the actor said he tries to stay focused on the projects he chooses next. “I’ve wanted to just work on really great content, great material with capable, inspiring, artistic directors. If something moved me or scared me, then I was drawn to it.”

Since being a part of Mr. Robot, a show that Malek called “so socially conscious,” he wants to work with content that "has an impact, not just as a piece of entertainment, but that affects us on a social level and empowers people.” He continued, "[Robot] has really provoked people in such a way that I want to do that more."

Robot’s first season was met with critical acclaim, scoring two Golden Globe awards including best drama series, and three Critics Choice Television Awards, one of which went to Malek for best actor in a drama series — thus planting a heightened level of pressure and anticipation from both fan and critics who are anxious to see if the show can maintain, if not surpass, the originality of its debut season. Malek told THR, “I think that the day we wrapped the first season, I’ve been thinking about the second season and feeling like there was an immense amount of pressure. There is something scary about coming out of the gate so strong. You want to be able to retain that or improve upon it.”

“The only way to alleviate myself of that pressure is just to keep working, keep discovering, keep researching and go to that place every chance I could,” he said. “We have a great group of people,” a nod to creator and showrunner Sam Esmail and costars Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday and Carly Chaikin. “It feels like everybody came back with that mind-set that said, ‘not only can we do as good a job, we can do better.’ ”

The second season of Mr. Robot premieres July 13 on USA.

More roundtables featuring comedy actors and actresses, drama actresses, comedy and drama showrunners, and reality hosts and producers will roll out throughout June in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With the Hollywood Reporter starting June 26 on SundanceTV, with the premiere of the Drama Actors Roundtable on Sunday, July 4, and look for clips at THR.com/roundtables, with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.

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