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Julia Roberts takes her first major TV role in this intriguing, claustrophobic series – an adaptation of the hit podcast.

Julia plays Heidi Bergman, a counsellor at the mysterious Homecoming Transitional Support Center, where US soldiers are sent to prepare for a return to civilian life.

Flash forward a few years and Heidi is now working in a grim diner, where a man from the government is asking strange questions…

Homecoming - Julia Roberrts stars

With a fine 
cast including Boardwalk Empire’s Shea Whigham and Bobby Cannavale, it starts slowly, but with clues drip-fed throughout you’ll soon be gripped.

TV Times caught up with Julia, who will be 51 on 28 October, to talk about the new series. The full interview is available in TV Times on sale on 23 October.

How does television compare with Hollywood films?
It’s actually not too dissimilar.

A lot of TV shows have a different director for every episode, but I requested to have Sam [Esmail] 
for the whole shoot.

I didn’t want a different person trying to understand how my brain works every week – that seemed unfair to them!

Why did you want to 
be in Homecoming?
The story is so complex and fascinating; all the characters reveal themselves in
interesting ways.

It’s based on 
a podcast, in which 
my friend Catherine Keener plays Heidi. 
I asked why she wasn’t doing the TV series – my big fortune was that she was busy doing something else!

Heidi is such a well-intentioned character, I spent time trying to understand her vulnerabilities 
and what makes her powerful.

It was like playing two characters because there are two timelines. 
I had a number of
wig fittings!

Did you have less time to prepare 
for this TV 
role than your movie roles?
No, but I definitely had 
a lot less time at home to cook and do the laundry – in the evenings when my children finished their homework, I would still be doing mine!

It took a lot of brainpower because there were pages and 
pages to learn!

TV Times rating: ****