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Homecoming: Julia Roberts proves to be a big star on the small screen in her first major TV role

The actress spills on why she took the plunge into television

Once upon a time, a movie star taking a television role seemed a signal their career wasn't going well.
But in the past few years, some of cinema's biggest names have done their best work on the box.
From Matthew McConaughey in True Detective to Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies, the lines are officially blurred.
The latest A-lister to make the switch to the small screen is Oscar-winner Julia Roberts, who heads up Amazon Prime's new thriller Homecoming.
Based on a popular fiction podcast of the same name and directed by Sam Esmail (Mr Robot), the show centres on a government rehab centre that exists to help soldiers return to civilian life.
Julia plays caseworker Heidi Bergman, who starts to suspect that the work being carried out at the secret facility isn't what it seems. And from what we can tell, nothing is as it seems...
Julia as caseworker Heidi Bergman
Homecoming probably wasn't the first TV project to land on Julia's desk, but there were two reasons she felt compelled to get on board.
"Firstly, it's based on a podcast I'd listened to, and I had never heard one like this – it was like an old-fashioned radio play," Julia, 50, tells TV WEEK.
"Secondly, I got a call from Sam Esmail, and he has made incredible content for television."
On the other end of the line, Sam was understandably excited to get Julia on the phone, but realistic about his chances of it going any further.
"Perhaps aside from that one episode of Friends [Julia played a former school buddy of Chandler's in a 1996 episode], I don't think she's ever been on a TV show before," Sam, 41, explains.
"But she was drawn to the material and when we had that first Skype session, there was a real connection between us. Then I heard she was a fan of Mr Robot and I passed out."
Luckily for Sam, he was able to regain consciousness and get Julia to sign on the dotted line.
Julia is also an executive producer on the show.
While the Hollywood legend says she's not one to binge – "I like to have to wait, I enjoy the patience" − Julia is quick to list shows that have been on her radar.
"Peaky Blinders was so innovative. The details, costumes, writing, production design, performances... I thought it was extraordinary," Julia says.
"Then, Big Little Lies was incredible, and I just started watching the second season of Ozark, which I think is a really unique show."With the star clearly drawn to television that offers a glimpse into humanity's dark side, Homecoming seems the perfect fit for Julia's foray into the medium.
Being in charge of a series obviously involves making some important choices, but Sam already knows which captain's call he values most.
"Reuniting Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney from My Best Friend's Wedding," he says with a laugh.
"It's one of the all-time great romantic comedies!"
Dermot plays Julia's boyfriend, Anthony, in Homecoming – fingers crossed there's a wedding sometime later in the season!

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