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“Welcome to Esmail Corp.,” reads the greeting upon landing on the production website created by TV mastermind Sam Esmail.
And like Mr. Robot and his forthcoming Homecoming, the journey from there is unique and mysterious. (Even finding it is a trip: the site doesn’t show up on a quick Google search, despite the simple address EsmailCorp.com.) The greeting continues: “My system indicates that you have a meeting with Sam [today]. Fuck, that’s today! Hurry or … Let’s just say he doesn’t like it when people are late. Oh, and, um … keep your EYES open.”
Users can then scroll through a story that includes a wealth of wild images including a gorilla with social anxiety, a floating pipe, a shark plane, an aquarium filled with gold, a centaur in a business suit, aliens, a talking plane with dissociative identity disorder and a praying mantis.
On the black carpet ahead of the premiere of his new Amazon series, Homecoming, starring Julia Roberts, Esmail seemed pleasantly surprised that The Hollywood Reporter had scrolled through the site. “God, it’s so great that you know about that,” Esmail said with a laugh. “[The site] took about a year actually. I never do anything normal, so when we were talking about doing a website, you know, there was the kind of the lame template, a typical production company website that you see. I was like, ‘Guys, let’s do something interesting.’ and we came up with the story with the great web developers. They pitched it to me and I thought It was brilliant and right up my alley in terms of weirdness.”
It’s not all pleasure, there’s some business too: Clicking on the pupils of several oversized eyeballs will take you to pertinent information including Esmail Corp’s upcoming projects (American Radical with Mr. Robot Emmy winner Rami Malek; Briarpatch starring Rosario Dawson; an Angelyne project based on a THR exposé by senior writer Gary Baum) as well as more typical intel like mailing address and mini company staff bios. As for Esmail, he tells THR that he’s back in the writers room now for the fourth and final season of Mr. Robot just as the second season of Homecoming is being written with co-creators Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz.
This story first appeared in the Oct. 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek