Sam Esmail made references to his previous work in 'Leave the World Behind'.

Sam Esmail referred to his old work in Leave the World Behind

Sam Esmail referred to his old work in Leave the World Behind

The 46-year-old director has helmed the new Netflix apocalyptic thriller that stars Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali and included nods to his previous projects – including the movie 'Comet' and the TV series 'Mr. Robot' - in the movie's plot.

Sam told The Hollywood Reporter: "It felt pretty natural, and to be honest with you, I didn't just do it with 'Mr. Robot'. There are little nods to everything I've worked on, from 'Homecoming' and 'Comet' to 'Robot'.

"I fancy myself as creating my own little universe whenever I make a film, so I thought to myself, 'Why not connect them all?' It's more fun that way."

The movie tells the story of the Sandford family and their disastrous weekend getaway at the Long Island home of G.H. Scott (Ali) where a gradual breakdown in technology points to a potential apocalypse and Esmail had real-life chaos on his mind when making the project.

He said: "Whenever I set out to do anything that's fictional, and this is fictional... I sometimes feel like I need to repeat that. This is speculative.

"I am taking what's out there in the world and shifting around some variables, and then asking that what-if question. But what gives me anxiety is when reality overlaps.

"It frightens me because I feel like the lines between reality and what I'm creating are a lot farther than what actually happens."

Directors Guillermo Del Toro and Rian Johnson are mentioned in the credits and Sam was grateful for the pair's assistance.

Asked if they lent some help, the director said: "One thousand per cent. Guillermo is a mensch. He's a filmmaker's filmmaker. He really cares, and the thing that blew me away about his feedback is that he's really honest. So he gave notes and he gave criticisms, but they never once felt disrespectful or hurtful. It was just about being a cheerleader for the movie.

"And same with Rian. I feel so honoured that these two masters were able to watch the film and give me feedback. They're really just out to support filmmakers and to support watching good movies, and so it was pretty flattering to get their support."