“I do love this genre. I had forgotten how fun it was to read a good suspenseful thriller,” Roberts tells marie claire in an exclusive interview.
In her first-ever TV series Roberts plays Heidi Bergman, a caseworker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Centre for returning war veterans, whose boss is an absolute nightmare. When a Department of Defense auditor tracks Heidi down four years later and starts asking questions about the facility, she realises things were not as they seemed. Overcome with paranoia, Heidi is haunted by resurfacing memories.
For Director Sam Esmail (of Mr. Robot acclaim), Roberts was a natural choice to play Heidi in the gripping series. “Heidi is such a complicated character. She comes from a morally and ethically grey area. She’s constantly being put into compromising positions. For someone to play that part, she really needed to have all these layers at the same time, to love the audience and let them have access to her. Only someone like Julia, with her level of craft, could do that,” says Esmail.
Every single person who’s had a controlling, micro-managing boss will relate to Roberts’ character in the series, which is based on the podcast of the same name.
In the show, Heidi’s boss Colin (played by Bobby Cannavale) is a manipulative, narcissistic bully. When Roberts pushes him into a fountain, it is a moment of pure relief and joy – for both the audience and her. “The first time I did it, I wasn’t meant to push him in all the way but I got so caught up in the moment and I gave him a big push. He was a good sport about it, but it felt really good,” says Roberts, with her trademark laugh.
The 51-year-old actress is sensational in the series, alongside Sissy Spacek who plays her mum and Stephan James who plays one of her soldier clients. Here’s hoping Homecoming will be the first of many TV roles for Roberts, who is actual Hollywood royalty.
After 30 years in the industry (including starring roles in Pretty Woman, Notting Hill and My Best Friend’s Wedding) and with her first TV series under her belt, Roberts is ready for a well-deserved break. “I can’t learn any more lines for the next six months,” she says over the phone from LA, with another laugh. You can almost feel her smile through the telephone line.
Homecoming is out now on Amazon Prime Video.