Sam Esmail Will Not Direct Season 2 of ‘Homecoming’ for Amazon

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sam Esmail will not return as director for the second season of Amazon’s “Homecoming,” an individual with knowledge of the series told TheWrap.

Esmail is the second major departure for the drama’s sophomore follow up, joining star Julia Roberts who will also not return. Both are remaining involved as executive producers. Amazon did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Esmail directed all 10 episodes of the show’s first season. Roberts had only signed on for the first season, and is already in talks to star in another Amazon series, “Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win.”

“Homecoming” is based on Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz’s two-season (12 episodes total) podcast for Gimlet Media, which centers on Heidi Bergman (Roberts), a caseworker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center — a facility helping soldiers transition back to civilian life — and her work with one of those soldiers, Walter Cruz (Stephan James). The series also starred Bobby Cannavale, Shea Whigham, Alex Karpovsky and Sissy Spacek.

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Esmail had previously told TheWrap he deviated from the podcast-version of the storyline, in part to give Roberts’ character an ending. “We got together and sort of invented this new back half of the storyline and new ending for Heidi.” On the podcast version, Heidi spends the second season reluctantly teaming with the Geist Group, the shadowy conglomerate backing the Homecoming project, to find Walter.

“I had only listened to the first six episodes, which sort of end in the middle of the Walter-Heidi story,” Esmail said. “I really wanted to come to some sort of satisfying conclusion of Walter and Heidi’s journey together.”

Esmail renewed his overall deal with Universal Content Productions last month, will see him create programming for NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service. Esmail’s USA Network series “Mr. Robot” is ending this year. He is an executive producer for USA’s upcoming Rosario Dawson drama “Briarpatch,” and has the Emmy Rossum-led limited series “Angelyne” as well as “Metropolis,” an adaptation of Fritz Lang’s 1927 science fiction classic, in development.

Variety first reported the news.

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Julia Roberts Unlikely to Star on ‘Homecoming’ Season 2 – But She’s Still Part of the Show

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Julia Roberts’ time on Amazon’s “Homecoming” is over, at least in front of the camera.

The actress — who was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama TV Series for her role on the first season of the Amazon’s Prime Video drama — is not coming back in an acting capacity for Season 2, according to multiple reports, though she’ll remain on board as an executive producer.

While representatives for Amazon would not comment on her departure to TheWrap, an individual with knowledge of the production said she had only signed on to star on the first season, and that it’s possible she could appear on-screen in some capacity in the second season.

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“Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail, who directed all 10 episodes, had previously told TheWrap that he deviated from the podcast-version of the storyline, in part to give Roberts’ character an ending. “We got together and sort of invented this new back half of the storyline and new ending for Heidi.”

“Homecoming” is based on Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz’s two-season (12 episodes total) podcast for Gimlet Media, which centers on Heidi Bergman (Roberts), a caseworker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center — a facility helping soldiers transition back to civilian life — and her work with one of those soldiers, Walter Cruz (Stephan James). The series also starred Bobby Cannavale, Shea Whigham, Alex Karpovsky and Sissy Spacek.

On the podcast version, Heidi spends the second season reluctantly teaming with the Geist Group to find Walter. Geist is the shadowy conglomerate backing the Homecoming project, which is working to cure military veterans of PTSD by physically erasing painful memories with an experimental drug. While Heidi is initially led to believe this is to help the veterans transition back to civilian life, the twist is that Geist is doing this so they can actually be sent back out into the field.

Also Read: ‘Homecoming’: Why the Amazon Series Abandons Its Source Material Halfway Through Season 1

“I had only listened to the first six episodes, which sort of end in the middle of the Walter-Heidi story,” Esmail continued. “I really wanted to come to some sort of satisfying conclusion of Walter and Heidi’s journey together.”

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.

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The nominees are in for next month’s 76th annual Golden Globes! Yes, Little Monsters: Lady Gaga got a nod. And also yes, Comic-Con dwellers: “Black Panther” has been nominated for Best Movie – Drama.

Find all of the nominees in each of the 25 categories below. “Vice” led the way for film, while “The Assassination of Gianna Versace: American Crime Story” collected the most chances for a trophy on the TV side of the business.

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Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Amy Adams – “Vice”
Claire Foy – “First Man”
Regina King – “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone – “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz – “The Favourite”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alan Arkin – “The Kominsky Method”
Kieran Culkin – “Succession”
Edgar Ramirez – “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Ben Whishaw – “A Very English Scandal”
Henry Winkler – “Barry”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Kristen Bell – “The Good Place”
Candice Bergen – “Murphy Brown”
Alison Brie – “GLOW”
Rachel Brosnahan – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Debra Messing – “Will & Grace”

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Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
“The Alienist” – TNT
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” – FX
“Escape at Dannemora” – Showtime
“Sharp Objects” – HBO
“A Very English Scandal” – Prime Video

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
“Barry” – HBO
“The Good Place” – NBC
“Kidding” – Showtime
“The Kominsky Method” – Netflix
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” – Prime Video

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
“A Quiet Place”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Black Panther”
“First Man”
“Mary Poppins Returns”

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Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Amy Adams – “Sharp Objects”
Patricia Arquette – “Escape at Dannemora”
Connie Britton – “Dirty John”
Laura Dern – “The Tale”
Regina King – “Seven Seconds”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alex Bornstein – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Patricia Clarkson – “Sharp Objects”
Penelope Cruz – “The Assassination of Gianna Versace: American Crime Story”
Thandie Newton – “Westworld”
Yvonne Strahovski – “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Sacha Baron Cohen – “Who Is America”
Jim Carrey – “Kidding”
Michael Douglas – “The Kominsky Method”
Donald Glover – “Atlanta”
Bill Hader – “Barry”

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Antonio Banderas – “Genius: Picasso”
Daniel Bruhl – “The Alienist”
Darren Criss – “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Benedict Cumberbatch – “Patrick Melrose”
Hugh Grant – “A Very English Scandal”

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
“Capernaum” – Lebanon
“Girl” – Belgium
“Never Look Away” – Germany
“Roma” – Mexico
“Shoplifters” – Japan 

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Alfonso Cuaron – “Roma”
Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara – “The Favourite”
Barry Jenkins – “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Adam McKay – “Vice”
Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter Farrelly – “Green Book”

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Best Motion Picture – Drama
“Black Panther”
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“A Star Is Born”

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
“Crazy Rich Asians”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Vice”

Best Motion Picture – Animated
“Incredibles 2”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mirai”
“Ralph Breaks the Internet”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

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Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Glenn Close – “The Wife”
Lady Gaga – “A Star Is Born”
Nicole Kidman – “Destroyer”
Melissa McCarthy – “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Rosamund Pike – “A Private War”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Bradley Cooper – “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe – “At Eternity’s Gate”
Lucas Hedges – “Boy Erased”
Rami Malek – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
John David Washington – “BlacKkKlansman”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Emily Blunt – “Mary Poppins Returns”
Olivia Colman – “The Favourite”
Elsie Fisher – “Eighth Grade”
Charlize Theron – “Tully”
Constance Wu – “Crazy Rich Asians”

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Best Director – Motion Picture
Bradley Cooper – “A Star Is Born”
Alfonso Cuaron – “Roma”
Peter Farrelly – “Green Book”
Spike Lee – “BlacKkK
lansman”
Adam McKay – “Vice”

Best Television Series – Drama
“The Americans” – FX
“Bodyguard” – Netflix
“Homecoming” – Prime Video
“Killing Eve” – BBC America
“Pose” – FX

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Drama
Caitriona Balfe – “Outlander”
Elisabeth Moss – “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Sandra Oh – “Killing Eve”
Julia Roberts – “Homecoming”
Keri Russell – “The Americans”

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Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama
Jason Bateman – “Ozark”
Stephan James – “Homecoming”
Richard Madden – “Bodyguard”
Billy Porter – “Pose”
Matthew Rhys – “The Americans”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale – “Vice”
Lin-Manuel Miranda – “Mary Poppins Returns”
Viggo Mortensen – “Green Book”
Robert Redford – “The Old Man & The Gun”
John C. Reilly – “Stan & Ollie”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali – “Green Book”
Timothee Chalamet – “Beautiful Boy”
Adam Driver – “BlacKkKlansman”
Richard E. Grant – “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell – “Vice”

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Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“All the Stars” – “Black Panther”
“Girl in the Movies” – “Dumplin’”
“Requiem for a Private War” – “A Private War”
“Revelation” – “Boy Erased”
“Shallow” – “A Star Is Born”

Jennifer Maas contributed to this report.

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Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Warning: This story contains spoilers for the first season of Amazon’s “Homecoming.”)

If the Geist Group, the large monolithic company at the center of Amazon’s “Homecoming,” reminds you of another big, shadowy company from a Sam Esmail-led series, well, the “Mr. Robot” creator gets it.

“If I have to psychoanalyze myself, I would say there are a lot of similarities,” Esmail tells TheWrap after we pointed out how similar the two companies appear. The only real differences between the two are that Esmail came up with E Corp himself, while The Geist Group was something already baked into “Homecoming,” as it was adapted from the Gimlet Media podcast from Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz.

“I just think there’s something in the air right now, something in the world that’s going on where we have this untrustworthiness with powerful conglomerates,” Esmail said. “In that way, even though it resonates on a personal level, I do feel like it’s a relevant topic to explore.”

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Geist Group is the company backing the Homecoming project, which ends up developing an experimental drug that “cures” veterans of PTSD by physically erasing painful memories. While it’s initially stated that its purpose is to help veterans transition back to civilian life, the twist is that Geist is doing this in order to send them back out into the field. In “Mr. Robot,” E Corp – or Evil Corp, as its derogatorily referred to by Rami Malek’s Elliot – is a nefarious giant conglomerate. The company, essentially a combination between Apple and Merrill Lynch, is frequently the target of the hacker group fsociety.

The similarities don’t stop there. “Mr. Robot” and “Homecoming” both feature major plotlines that deal with someone attempting to take down these giant companies. In “Homecoming,” after Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts) realizes what Geist is up to, she drugs herself and one of the soldiers she was working with, so he ends up getting sent home instead back to war. In “Mr. Robot,” fsociety succeeded in hacking all of E Corp’s files, essentially wiping out all consumer debt at the end of the first season, with subsequent seasons dealing with the fallout.

In case you think Geist Group is the runaway winner in the “evil giant company” race, with its memory-erasing drugs and lying to war veterans, it is revealed during the first season of “Mr. Robot” that E Corp covered up a toxic gas spill at one of its factories, and in the ensuing 24 months, 26 employees there ended up getting leukemia, including Elliot’s father, Edward (Christian Slater).

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But while E Corp was definitely something that Esmail designed, Geist Group was more of a happy coincidence. “For me, what resonated were the characters and the journey they go on and the themes that Eli and Micah explore in such a human way,” he said of his reason for taking on “Homecoming.” But we’d bet writing about a shadowy company that’s pulling the strings behind the scenes didn’t hurt, either.

“It resonated with me four years ago when I first wrote ‘Mr. Robot. I feel like since then its only amplified.”

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