The ladies of Mr. Robot were on hand at TCA to talk female empowerment and repping the tech world. The panel included Dawn Olmstead, EVP of Development at Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios, and cast members Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday, Stephanie Corneliussen, and Grace Gummer.
On expanding the female characters’ storylines, Olmstead insisted that there was no mandate. “Sam [Esmail] fell in love with all his characters… It’s incredible the women that Sam gave us on the show. I would watch every one of their own shows from these characters. They each could be a show in themselves because they are so strong and there is so much ambition.”
“They’re so clear-eyed on what their agenda is and it is not based on being a woman or someone’s spouse,” she continued. “It’s about whatever they believe in. [Sam] had such strong characters that when Elliot needed to get himself together he had all these great storylines that could really hold up in their own world.”
Gummer added, “I don’t think we’re all driven by some female agenda. We all have our own purpose and our own drive. We are not secondary characters. We drive the stories just as much as Rami and Christian.
“We’re not being unrealistically empowered or set up to be more than we are,” Corneliussen quipped. “We are women and we are equals and that makes something new in television.
On the importance of female representation in the tech world. Chaikin, whose character is a coder, shared, “when we first started I never thought about my role playing a woman in tech… There are so many women in tech and amazing female hackers. The show is reflecting the real world today. There are females in tech that are better than the guys.” She continued, “It’s exciting for me to represent that” and “play a character that can have an effect in the outside world.”
Corneliussen spoke on her character getting to do what one critic in the room described as “the most disturbing scenes on TV.” A lot of male actors get to do some outrageous stuff. I love that Joanna gets to push the limits, she gets to walk the edge. It’s a mesh of feminine and masculine energy.”