Christian Slater’s comeback is in full gear. Since his role in Lars Van Trier’s art-house title Nymphomaniac, Slater's been steadily returning to form. His latest project, USA's Mr. Robot, follows the shadowy world of outlaw internet hackers. How very. What? You thought you'd make it through a Christian Slater post without a Heathers reference?
Here, Slater talks about hack culture, and haves and have-nots.
After your experience on Mr. Robot, how dangerous are hackers to government and business institutions?
I certainly think this is an issue or subject that was addressed in the President’s state of the union. The White House was recently hacked. Obviously, Sony was the biggest story last year. This is a huge issue and it continues to kind of grow and snowball and we don’t really necessarily know what the effect could be. Mr. Robot shows what can happen when a small group of people have this particular power and how it can take down a huge moneymaking organization that thinks it’s impenetrable.
The show seems to have one foot in reality and another in fantasy.
This is definitely a dystopian universe here. It’s a fantasy! Look, I’m certainly concerned about debt and people feeling the pressure and the weight, and I think about my children’s future and I think about greed and selfishness and gluttony and taking advantage of the system. I certainly feel like things need to be a bit more streamlined, a bit more organized and handled, certainly, in a much smarter way so we don’t go under. Something needs to happen. But this is pure fantasy.
What value do you see in streaming television shows online?
I think networks and cable companies are all trying to figure out what the landscape is. This show is about the subject of hacking. The sooner we get it out there, the better—before it does get hacked. That’s the kind of dangerous world we’re living in. I think networks are starting to discover that this cloud that we’re living in here is a free for all. If you can control the internet and make that keyboard sing, you’re kind of holding all the cards.
Would you agree that the Internet, as a whole, is more geared towards watching short clips?
If you can tell a compelling story and it’s a relevant subject matter, hopefully that will keep people’s interest and keep them piqued long enough to follow along and take the whole journey. We certainly live in much more of an immediate gratification type society, though. Whether it’s Snapchat and Instagram, we’re constantly getting fed information and updates. It’s very, very tricky. The world has changed a phenomenal amount, and getting people to sit still and pay attention and follow along with stories is certainly one of the great challenges that writers face.
How has your relationship with the Internet changed after this movie?
I do look at it as a tool to be respected. I appreciate it, I love it; love Google and the ability to get information just by the clicking of a few keys. It certainly helped to streamline my life and help me get a lot more organized and become more aware of my own finances and what’s happening. But look, I definitely will update my passwords on a regular basis and have security protocols and not do anything stupid on there.