Sam Esmail
Sam Esmail, pictured here at the New Yorker Festival, reveals he thought about not pushing through with producing “Mr. Robot” because he couldn't find the perfect actor to play the lead. Getty Images/Anna Weber

Rami Malek won an Emmy for his performance as Elliot Alderson in “Mr. Robot.” The actor has been very effective in the role that it’s curious to learn how things would have turned out if Malek was not cast for it. Series creator Sam Esmail said the show would not have seen the light of day if he did not find Malek.

In an interview with Recode, Esmail said: “I thought we were in real trouble. I was contemplating not doing the show because we were not finding the guy. Then Rami came in and totally transformed the character. He added the warmth.”

Esmail added that there were a lot of things that would have alienated people from Elliot, but Malek’s portrayal of the character somehow made him endearing.

“It takes a really precise take to add that warmth,” Esmail said. “This is all happening because he’s in a lot of pain, and there’s forgiveness you, as an audience member, can have when someone performs it like that.”

This is not the first time Esmail gushed over casting Malek in the role. The writer-director said that after a hundred auditionees, he was relieved to find Malek, not only because of his talent but also because he’s a nice guy.

“The thing that Rami told me is that he loved all the jagged edges of his character,” Esmail told The Hollywood Reporter. “The other thing is, especially with TV, in particular with TV, you don’t want to cast an a***ole. As good as they might be, if they’re an a***ole, I really do not want to work with them.”

The admiration is reciprocated, though. Malek has mentioned several times how impressed he is by Esmail’s mind. In his acceptance speech at the 2016 Emmys, Malek called Esmail a “pure visionary.”

See more of Esmail and Malek’s work together when “Mr. Robot” Season 3 airs next year.