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Julia Roberts Gears Up for a New Series on Amazon Based on a Podcast

Marion Charatan

Posted on June 30, 2018 14:04

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The quintessential 'Pretty Woman' will star as a caseworker for returning vets in a psychological thriller-- tackling PTSD as well as challenges from colleagues in an experimental facility.

Amazon Prime Video got it right casting 'Pretty Woman' Julia Roberts in a new psychological thriller. Premiering in the fall, the show is based on the podcast Homecoming.

The podcast features an cast of Hollywood A-listers--Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, and David Schwimmer and is pitched as a ‘conspiracy thriller.’ Its writers are Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz.

Podcasts, like radio, are theater of the mind. Homecoming's plot is based on a caseworker played by Keener and her ambitious supervisor Schwimmer at an experimental facility. They attempt to help a troubled soldier/patient Isaac who wants to transition back to civilian life. Mysteries wrap around therapy sessions, phone calls and conversations. Amy Sedaris stars as Schwimmer's boss who he spars with. More than the plot, the key to Gimlet Media's podcast's success seems to be its charismatic cast.

Certainly, the same recipe for success will apply to the signing on of Ms. Roberts, who is cast as a caseworker Heidi Bergman at the treatment center for returning veterans.

Julia Roberts has box office mojo. Pretty Woman, released in on March 23, 1990 has grossed $432,645,872 worldwide and is the 27th biggest movie money maker of all time. Not bad for a country girl from Smyrna, Georgia. Of course, Richard Gere also played a huge part in the film's achievement. Pretty Woman surpassed the earnings of Erin Brockovich, which garnered Roberts an Oscar in 2000.

The now 50-year-old Roberts has range in her acting skills. Back when she was Pretty Woman, she played a quirky prostitute Vivienne to Gere's sexy businessman Edward Lewis.

I thought she did a commendable job as the crusading and gritty Erin Brokovich, going up against corrupt corporate America. She was touching and vulnerable in Sleeping with the Enemy, as an abused young wife escaping a horrific domestic situation. Roberts gift is coming across as approachable.

In 2013, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep were the three film actresses with the highest Q scores; that is, the measurement of the appeal and familiarity of a celebrity, brand, company, or entertainment product.  It will be interesting to see how this popular acceptance translates to the Amazon series.

My prediction is the Homecoming spinoff will hit a home run. Viewers seem to like shows that center around medicine and mental health -- just look at Shameless and Homeland. Both of those series have characters afflicted with bipolar disorder. Plus, everyone likes a thriller. From the days of Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Sterling, a good mystery never gets old.....

Marion Charatan

Posted on June 30, 2018 14:04

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