She’s much more than a Pretty Woman now! Julia Roberts plays the mother of an opioid addict in her latest film, Ben Is Back, and a caseworker assigned to a shadowy project with military veterans in Amazon’s new drama Homecoming.
She researched the opioid crisis for Ben Is Back but had to stop because “I couldn’t keep returning to that place because it became too heartbreaking. As for the complex thriller Homecoming, “it really was one of the most technically challenging jobs but also a dream,” she told Deadline.
So, why did she pick such tough roles? “I have always felt — even when I needed to pay my bills — that things find you at that time when they’re perfect for you to understand and be able to execute,” said Julia. “I’ve just always had that feeling. It’s like bumping into someone when you come out of an elevator. I just sort of wait for that to happen.”
Homecoming is a psychological drama that alternates between times — one from the present, and the other taking place four years later in 2022. During the present time, Julia’s character is a caseworker at Homecoming, a Geist group facility helping soldiers. At that time, a Department of Defense auditor shows up and begins questioning why she left the Homecoming facility, which forces Heidi to realize that there’s a whole other story behind the one she’s been telling herself for years.
Part of Julia’s enthusiasm for the project comes from her familiarity with the dramatic podcast it’s based on, which was created by series writers Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg and featured the voices of Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, and David Schwimmer.
“I was really taken with the podcast,” she noted. “The characters were terrific. [Actress] Catherine Keener is a friend of mine — she played Heidi in the podcast — and she was fantastic. I was listening to it with [a TV series] in mind. The audio, the sound production, the fish-tank bubbles… it was all so visual. Micah and Eli know this material inside and out.”