Julia Roberts Is Bringing Hit Podcast Homecoming To Life With Amazon

Photo: Kevin Mazur/amfAR/Getty Images.
Near the end of the new Homecoming teaser — Amazon’s upcoming show, adapted from the widely popular podcast of the same name — Julia Roberts (Julia! Roberts! With a blunt fringe!) looks towards an unseen character offscreen and softly says, “Shall we get started?”
Julia, you didn’t even have to ask. At San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, Amazon Studios unveiled its first sneak peek at Homecoming, along with announcing its 2nd November release date. And we are officially hyped up for this show, which marks Roberts’ television starring debut.
Roberts is playing Heidi Burgman, a former caseworker at the Homecoming transitional facility which helps soldiers transition to civilian life. The half-hour series begins in the present day, years after the fact. Burgman has started a new life, living with her mother and working as a waitress, when a government agent approaches her and begins to ask her about her time at Homecoming — and a secret conspiracy begins to unravel.
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The adaptation of Homecoming is helmed by Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail. Esmail directed and produced the show and, from what we’ve seen of the teaser, it hems closely to his past work’s same dark, detached tone.
The Homecoming teaser features empty, industrial spaces filled with ambient Radiohead; there’s an ominous, chilly sparseness to it all. Notably, its primary objective is scene-setting. Homecoming previously only existed as two six-episode seasons of elaborate audio storytelling. Now, Esmail is welcoming fans and newcomers alike to actually see and visually inhabit that same story. His camera lingers on clinically white hallways with vending machines and potted plants, wood-panelled rooms with fish tanks and quilted couches, a bed, a kitchen — and heavily features pineapples in a nod to the show’s source material (the podcast’s second episode, “Pineapple,” is largely considered one of the series’ best). As he builds this world, there’s no sign of any life until the tease cuts to Roberts, scribbling away on a notepad.
The story appears to be a relatively loyal adaptation of the Gimlet Media podcast, a scripted drama that featured an overwhelmingly star-studded cast: Catherine Keener voiced the role of Heidi Burgman, and the cast was rounded out by David Schwimmer as her overbearing boss Colin Belfast (played by Bobby Cannavale in the TV series) and Oscar Isaac as Walter Cruz, a soldier whose case is assigned to Bergman (now played by Stephan James).
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