The first season of Homecoming was deliberately claustrophobic, set largely in the Homecoming Transitional Support Center with nods to All the President’s Men and The Parallax View. Season 2 of the Amazon Prime Video drama is a little bit less Alan Pakula and a little more Brian De Palma, according to director/executive producer Kyle Patrick Alvarez.
“One of the draws to me was, having loved Season 1 so much, and having loved Sam [Esmail]’s aesthetic approach, the challenge was how do we translate that feeling when so much of that feeling was the Homecoming facility set,” Alvarez said during Deadline’s Contenders Television virtual event. “That was so meticulously designed to fit that tone, but now we’re going to be in forests and lakes so we have to re-conceive how to technically approach the scenes so that it felt like Homecoming but on a larger canvas. Sam was digging into this love of ’70s films, I didn’t want to diverge from that but move a little on.”
The second season, which stars Janelle Monáe, exists far more outside of the facility, with her character waking up in a rowboat adrift on a lake, with no memory of how she got there — or even who she is. Her ensuing search for identity leads her into the heart of the Geist Group, the unconventional wellness company behind the Homecoming Initiative.
Co-creator/executive producer Micah Bloomberg, also speaking as part of the Amazon Prime Video panel, added that he wanted it to feel more wide open. “We were excited about drawing a contrast [between seasons], getting our characters outside and moving at a different pace and having things be more kinetic and more action,” he said.
Co-creator/exec producer Eli Horowitz added that the first season was so much about confinement and studying the space, but anything could happen in Season 2. “One of the things that we’re excited about is how the connection between the two seasons slowly unfurls,” he said. “We’re establishing this new character and new plot, so in some ways this season is its own entity but as it progresses, you’ll see how it links back to Season 1,” he added.
Stephan James reprises his role as Walter Cruz, trying to build a new life following the traumas of war and the Homecoming Initiative, when he begins to realize that there’s an even more insidious version of the program underway – if only he can remember. Hong Chau also returns as Audrey Temple, an anonymous underling at Geist who finds herself thrust into unexpected positions at the top of the corporate ladder, while Oscar-winner Chris Cooper plays Leonard Geist, the company’s eccentric founder, and Emmy-winner Joan Cusack stars as Francine Bunda, an equally eccentric military woman.
Homecoming is co-produced by Amazon Studios and UCP. Season 2 is executive produced by Esmail through his production company Esmail Corp; Mr. Robot executive producer Chad Hamilton of Anonymous Content; Alvarez; Horowitz; Bloomberg; and Chris Giliberti, Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber of Gimlet Media. Julia Roberts also is an executive producer through her Red Om Films.
Check out the panel video above.