For episode eight of Homecoming, “Protocol”, Julia Roberts had a noteworthy scene. Said Roberts: “He goes, ‘I just want you to sit at your desk, and I just want you to collect the things on your desk.’ … I thought, I just didn’t want to let him down. I thought, ‘If Sam thinks I can have a breakdown and collect these things on my desk for two minutes, by God, I’m gonna fucking do it.’” Julia Roberts stars in Homecoming, a series created by Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg that streams on Amazon. Sam Esmail, Homecoming showrunner, wanted Roberts to carry out his vision of her character, Heidi, sitting at her desk for two minutes and having somewhat of a breakdown as she collects items from her desk.
It was a confusing setup that made others wonder why Esmail would portray it this way. “We were like, ‘This is a very weird thing she’s gonna do — just gather all this stuff and put her head on it. Is it gonna work?’” co-creator Eli Horowitz said. “And then, yeah, she made it work.”
Julia Roberts had gotten tremendous praise and appreciation for giving the scene her all. As cinematographer Tod Campbell said, “Just watching her act, too, you’re mesmerized by it… it’s pretty magical, honestly. Gives me chills a little bit. Every single thing she does from her facial expressions to her movements, the choices that she makes. There’s no doubt, you’re in the room watching her and you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, dude, this is a movie star right here.’ It’s pretty awesome.”
“I generally save the handheld for certain moments like this, where I just want to be with the character,” he said. “And so one thing I did know is that because this is such an intimate moment, she’s in there by herself with the camera operator, and maybe the boom? Maybe the boom. Or, I don’t know, maybe I kicked the boom guy out,” he said. Esmail wanted to keep the room quiet so Roberts could put all of her focus in Heidi. The results were outstanding.
Roberts has received many accolades of being such a talented actress. Homecoming has broken down a new barrier for Roberts: a TV star.