Rami Malek won the best leading actor award for his role in the television series drama Mr. Robot at this year’s Emmy Awards. He looked generally surprised upon receiving the award, and in a reference to his character from Mr. Robot, the first words of his acceptance speech were:
“Please tell me you’re seeing this too!”
It’s quite a victory and a step in the right direction, as Malek is the first minority actor to win the Emmy for best leading actor in a drama series in 18 years.
Rami Malek is an Egyptian-American actor who grew up in Los Angeles. He landed his first serious role in 2004 on the television series Gilmore Girls. He also had roles in the films Night at the Museum, The Pacific, The Twilight Saga, Oldboy, and P.T. Anderson’s The Master. After receiving the award, Malek said in a backstage speech:
“For me to stand here as not the typical leading man and to have come home with this speaks a lot about where we’re headed.”
Mr. Robot is a psychological drama written, directed, and produced by Sam Esmail. The role that Malek plays is that of Elliot Alderson — a computer-hacker who suffers a social anxiety disorder.
To prepare himself for the role, Malek read a number of books on the subject and spent a considerable amount of time with a therapist who was upset with the way actors portray people with mental illness. Malek questioned this psychologist extensively to better understand his character and the disorder.
An interesting interview with Kirsten Dunst and Rami Malek can be found on Variety’s Actor on Actor series. We learn that the two went to the same high school and we also gain some insight into how both actors prepare for their respective roles; Malek in Mr. Robot and Dunst in her role as Peggy Blumquist in the television series Fargo.