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Arab Americans

Sam Esmail


Sam Esmail (born September 17, 1977) is an American screenwriter, film and television director, and television producer. He is best known as the creator of the television series Mr. Robot (2015–present).

Early life

Esmail was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. He is of Egyptian descent. His family is Muslim.

While attending New York University, he worked in its computer lab before being put on academic probation for an incident there. After graduating from that college’s Tisch School of the Arts, he went on to a Master of Fine Arts degree from the AFI Conservatory.


In 2008, Esmail’s first feature film screenplay, Sequels, Remakes & Adaptations, landed on the Black List, a yearly survey of over 600 production companies and film executives of the “most liked” motion picture screenplays not yet produced. In 2014, his feature length directorial debut, Comet was released by IFC.

He is the creator, executive producer and head writer of the technological thriller television series Mr. Robot, which premiered on USA Network on June 24, 2015. Esmail originally envisioned the project as a feature film.

In a BBC interview, Esmail explained the influence of his heritage on his work, “I tend to write about alienated figures who can’t connect with others and who are kind of distant from American culture. It’s not something I am consciously doing but it’s something that happens to be infused inside me because of my experience growing up in America.”

Personal life

In August 2015, Esmail became engaged to actress Emmy Rossum after dating for two years. He directed her in his directorial debut, Comet.

His younger brother, Samer Esmail, works with him as a post production assistant.


2014: Comet Directorial debut

2014: Mockingbird Story by, with Bryan Bertino


2015–present: Mr. Robot Creator; writer (10 episodes), director (15 episodes)


Year Ceremony Category Nominated Work Result
2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Comet Nominated
2015 2015 SXSW Film Audience Award[13] Audience Award for Best Episodic Mr. Robot Won
25th Gotham Independent Film Awards[14] Breakthrough Series – Long Form Won
2015 American Film Institute Awards[15] Television Programs of the Year Won
2016 20th Satellite Awards[16] Best Drama Series Nominated
2016 Writers Guild Awards[17] Best Drama Series Nominated
Best New Series Won
73rd Golden Globe Awards[18] Best Television Series – Drama Won
6th Critics’ Choice Television Awards[19] Best Drama Series Won
68th Primetime Emmy Awards[20] Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Nominated