'Homecoming' Star Julia Roberts: "There Isn't a Distinction Anymore" Between Film and TV

The actress previewed her first TV series regular role in Amazon's Sam Esmail drama 'Homecoming' for reporters Saturday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
Courtesy of Prime Video

In a scene reminiscent of Notting Hill, Julia Roberts on Saturday charmed the Television Critics Association's summer press tour during her half-hour before the press while promoting Amazon's Homecoming.

The series, picked up for two seasons following a multiple-network bidding war, marks the Pretty Woman star's TV series regular debut. Roberts toplines the psychological thriller from Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) based on the podcast of the same name as a caseworker at a secret government facility.

Asked by The Hollywood Reporter what attracted her to the small screen following feature roles in hits including Erin Brockovich, Ocean's Eleven and August: Osage County, Roberts declared that "there isn't a distinction anymore" between the two mediums.

"I didn't think small-screen [vs.] big screen. … My TV is very big!" Roberts said to a well-earned round of laughter from the 200 or so members of the press corps. "With Sam, we were so excited to collaborate on this and see what we could do with it and what you can do with more time to shoot and more time to unravel things for people. It seemed like a great opportunity."

"Everything is good; the bar is so high," Roberts noted of the quality of scripts that have drawn multiple A-list stars to TV. "For me, it's nice to bring something into people's homes. We're like a delivery service, delivering entertainment right to your doorstep."

Roberts stressed that she was impressed by Esmail and the script for Homecoming, from co-writers Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg, and enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the medium in the process.  

"What Eli and Micah have written is a great, old-fashioned yarn set in this really modern conundrum of a morality play, and you put that in Sam's stylish and capable hands and that felt like a safe place to be," the actress said of the series, on which she reunites with frequent collaborator Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend's Wedding) and stars opposite Bobby Cannavale and Stephan James.

"It was a great mental challenge, every day," Roberts said. "This wasn't that different from film, by virtue of the way we shot it and having Sam helm all the episodes. We were all together in a way you would be on a movie."

The series wrapped production on season one in June, with both Esmail and Roberts tight-lipped about when season two could return — and if the latter will return.

Homecoming is set to debut Nov. 2 on Amazon. Watch a teaser, below.