Everything You Need To Know About Homecoming's Breakout Star Stephan James

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon.
Gimlet podcast fans are rejoicing today with the arrival of the new Amazon Prime Video original series, Homecoming. Director Sam Esmail has beautifully transitioned the psychological thriller from an audio experience to a visual one. The show is based on the experiences of Heidi Bergman (originally voiced by Catherine Keener), a waitress who is forced to confront her mostly forgotten past life as a social worker for a shady soldier rehabilitation program called Homecoming. In the show, Keener's captivating voice is replaced by Julia Roberts’. The industry heavy-hitter plays Bergman, so if you had any doubts that the show would be good, hang them up now. But right alongside her is a co-star worthy of some praise of his own.
Stephan James plays Walter Cruz, a humble soldier hoping to benefit from the resources of the Homecoming program. James delivers an amazing performance that already has everyone tapping him as the show’s breakout star. It's not every young actor who can hold their own against a formidable presence like Julia Roberts. Here’s everything you need to know about the Toronto native.
Where You’ve Seen Him Before
Diehard fans of Degrassi: Next Generation will probably recognize James. He played a recurring character named Julian in seasons 10 and 11 of the show (which means he missed the Drake years_. He’s also played two important figures in American history: John Lewis in Ava DuVernay’s Selma (2014), and Jesse Owens in 2016’s Race. Last year, he starred alongside Sanaa Lathan in the FOX limited series, Shots Fired. In that role he played an attorney for the DOJ sent to investigate a police shooting in a Black community.
Where You’ll See Him Next
Homecoming is certainly not the end of the road for James and his collaboration with some of Black Hollywood’s legends. Later this month, he will be playing the lead role in Barry Jenkins' highly anticipated film If Beale Street Could Talk. His co-stars include Regina King, Bryan Tyree Henry, and KiKi Lane.
The Little Details
James was born in Toronto to Jamaican parents, and his name is actually pronounced stef-AHn. He is also only 24 years old. During a 2015 interview with ET Canada about his role in Selma, James said that every moment in his career was a “pinch me” moment. I don’t blame him. I’m already 30 and can still only dream of meeting Oprah.

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