Sam Esmail, creator of USA Network’s “Mr. Robot,” who hopes to direct a feature based on the socially conscious thriller “Leave the World Behind” by author Rumaan Alam.

RICH FURY, The Associated Press Ryan Faughnder Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Author Rumaan Alam kept his expectations low, even as the film rights to his upcoming book “Leave the World Behind” became the center of a bidding contest among Hollywood studios this summer.

During two brisk weeks in July, the Brooklyn-based novelist kept interrupting his family vacation on Fire Island to field phone calls from agents, producers and executives. Sam Esmail, creator of USA Network’s “Mr. Robot,” was on board to direct a feature based on the

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