EXCLUSIVE: Shots Fired star Stephan James has landed the male lead opposite Julia Roberts in Homecoming, the half-hour drama from Universal Cable Productions, Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail and Anonymous Content. It has a two-season straight-to-series order at Amazon.
Homecoming, based on Gimlet Media’s breakout fictional podcast, is written by the podcast’s creators Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg and directed by Esmail. It is a psychological thriller that centers on Heidi (Roberts), a caseworker at a secret government facility, and a soldier (James) eager to rejoin civilian life. James’ Walter is a young military veteran with an underlying confidence and quiet sense of humor, who begins the Homecoming Initiative and is assigned to Heidi.
Presented in a collage of telephone calls, therapy sessions and overheard conversations, the Homecoming podcast had a cast led by Catherine Keener that also included Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, Amy Sedaris and David Cross. Keener voiced the caseworker, with Isaac as the soldier.
The Homecoming TV series is produced by Esmail through his production company Esmail Corp; as well as Mr. Robot executive producer Chad Hamilton of Anonymous Content; the podcast’s Horowitz and Bloomberg; Alicia Van Couvering; and Chris Giliberti, Alex Blumberg, and Matt Lieber of Gimlet Media. Roberts also will serve as executive producer through her production company RedOm; her partners Lisa Gillan and Marisa Gill will co-executive produce. Filming is slated to begin in Los Angeles in April 2018.
Amazon Studios will have global rights to Homecoming, which will premiere globally exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.
Canadian-born James is currently shooting the lead of director Barry Jenkins’ next film If Beale Street Could Talk. He recently starred in the Fox event series Shots Fired opposite Sanaa Lathan, Helen Hunt and Richard Dreyfuss.
For his role as track and field Olympic champion Jesse Owens in the Stephen Hopkins-directed biopic Race, James won a Canadian Screen Award, and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. He also appeared in Ava DuVernay’s Selma and in the BET miniseries The Book of Negroes. In 2016, he received the Rising Star Award at the Toronto Film Festival.
James is repped by Innovative Artists, Primary Wave Entertainment and Noble Caplan Abrams.