Streaming services are appreciating that podcasts aren't just about true crime, as Amazon's adaptation of breakout fictional podcast Homecoming has cast Stephan James (Race, Selma) opposite Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich) in the half-hour drama from Universal Cable Productions, Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, and Anonymous Content.
Based on Gimlet Media's breakout fictional podcast from Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg, the series has received a two-season, straight-to-series order from the streaming service. With production expected to begin in April 2018, Horowitz and Bloomberg will write the series, with Esmail directing.
Homecoming is a psychological thriller centering on caseworker Heidi (Roberts) and solider Walter (James), the latter assigned to the former in a secret government facility. Walter is a young military veteran with an underlying confidence and quiet sense of humor, who begins the Homecoming Initiative with the hope of re-entering civilian life.
Horowitz and Bloomberg's podcast presented the narrative through a series of telephone calls, therapy sessions and overheard conversations; and boasted a voice cast that included Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, Amy Sedaris, and David Cross.
As Hororwitz told IndieWire, the approach to storytelling that they applied to the audio experience is one that will lend itself well to a visual format, too:
"We learned all these great lessons by doing this in audio about really focusing on the characters; letting the scenes and the conversation create the action instead of describing the action. So the focus and compression and density that audio requires, I think we can bring to television. Audio is essentially all foreground, at least in the way we presented it. But then television obviously brings so many more tools that we can use. The idea of going deeper into the setting, the idea that there's more space in the frame."
Homecoming is produced by Esmail through his production company Esmail Corp; as well as Chad Hamilton of Anonymous Content; 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, with her partners Lisa Gillan and Marisa Gill set to co-executive produce. Amazon Studios will have global rights to broadcast the television series, which will premiere globally exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.
Source: Deadline: Hollywood