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Sam Esmail on Creating ‘Homecoming,’ Working With Julia Roberts

Director reveals Julia Roberts was interested in the Amazon series because she’s a fan of ‘Mr. Robot’ as well as the podcast from which ‘Homecoming’ is adapted

In Homecoming, the new Amazon series from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail (it premieres today), Julia Roberts plays Heidi Bergman, a onetime employee at a shadowy project codenamed Homecoming that was designed to help soldiers readjust to civilian life. An auditor (Shea Whigham) from the Department of Defense comes asking questions years later and Heidi quickly realizes that she doesn’t have all the answers. If Beale Street Could Talk‘s Stephan James is a young war vet she befriends; Bobby Cannavale plays Colin, her smug ex-boss.

As Rolling Stone TV critic Alan Sepinwall recently wrote in his review of the show, “Esmail gets Roberts to dial back her star wattage, though he deploys her famous smile strategically and potently.” He also noted that Esmail “mostly sets aside the off-kilter framing of Mr. Robot for elegant and classical Hollywood compositions in the scenes at the Homecoming facility,” adding, “Expect lots of complicated single takes and a soundtrack that samples a variety of vintage suspense movie scores.”

Sepinwall had the opportunity to sit down with Esmail on Monday at an Amazon-sponsored event to discuss his choices in adapting Homecoming, along with writers Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz, from a popular Gimlet Media podcast. Watch the video for more insight into how one Hollywood’s biggest stars was lured to star in an Amazon Prime streaming series and why Esmail directed all of the episodes himself.

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