Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney have teamed up, yet again, for a new political and psychological thriller on Amazon Prime, Homecoming. While many will likely remember their work in the runaway hit romantic comedy, My Best Friend's Wedding, which was the first time they worked together, it turns out that Homecoming is a very different animal.
CinemaBlend's Jeff McCobb had the opportunity to speak with Mulroney at the press day for the show, and, according to the actor, this drama marks a real, well, homecoming for them.
Well, we've just had such an incredible run together. And, you know, it's not even that often that I work with any actor three times, so to work with her in this way is phenomenal. But, it has been since 1996 or so that I've sat down and had an eight minute scene with her. You know, in August: Osage County I was in the ensemble, but I didn't have, directly, scenes - at least not alone - with her. So, this was, literally, like coming home, where I knew I was in the hands of a great actor, [with] great material, and a great director.
What a nice sentiment from Dermot Mulroney, right? Even though tons of people remember that they starred in My Best Friend's Wedding together, they also both appeared in the 2013 drama August: Osage County. However, Mulroney makes note of the fact that there was a large ensemble in play in that film, and he and Julia Roberts never spent any time on that movie in scenes where it was just their two characters. So, while they both technically appeared in that movie (for which Roberts got a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination), they didn't really get to share any kind of on-screen dynamic that would take views back to the first time they paired up.
August: Osage County, which was based on the play of the same name by Tracy Letts, focused on the strong-willed women of the Weston family, who are forced to reunite at the Oklahoma home where they grew up when a family tragedy strikes, leading to them having to deal with the dysfunctional woman who raised them. Along with Roberts and Mulroney, the cast included Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Sam Shepard and Benedict Cumberbatch. So, after looking at that stacked cast, it's pretty easy to imagine that not everyone involved got to spend quality time on screen together.
As Dermot Mulroney pointed out when he sat down with us, Homecoming gave him a chance to really work with Julia Roberts again. In the series, Mulroney's Anthony is the boyfriend to Heidi, Roberts' character, who is a caseworker at a shadowy government facility which promises to help soldiers return to civilian life. While Anthony is eager to make Heidi happy in their relationship, he's also quite needy and becomes increasingly frustrated with her lack of attention to their relationship, especially where he and his feeling are concerned.
The story takes a real turn for Heidi years after she has quit the facility and is living with her mother while working as a small town waitress. An auditor from the DOD has questions for her about why she left, and Heidi is then forced to confront some troubling truths about her former job. Homecoming also stars Stephan James, Shea Whigham, Sissy Spacek, Bobby Cannavale and Alex Karpovsky, and was directed by Mr. Robot's Sam Esmail.
What struck me, and I think this just comes out of truth, there were some really funny moments. I mean, [Shea] has most of them -- scene stealer. Dermot has some very funny things. Everyone has a moment. Walter and Heidi do some funny, quirky things. So I think that humanity in this really creepy, dark universe was unexpected and welcome.
Mulroney, for his part, said that as he watched the finished product he found himself more taken in by what was going on than he can usually find himself, even when watching a show or movie that he enjoys.
You know what I noticed when I was watching this? I noticed so much more of what I was watching. I was aware of how cool it was during [the process of] watching it. Sometimes, I watch something and I don't think about how cool it was until after. This has that great sensation of, 'Oh, cool! Oh, cool!" all the way through.
I can't help but wonder if some of this "Oh, cool!" feeling came to Dermot Mulroney courtesy of the increased screen time for he and Julia Roberts. The first time the duo paired up, their on-screen chemistry helped make My Best Friend's Wedding one of the top 10 films of 1997. The romantic comedy featured Roberts' character, Julianne, realizing that she's in love withe her best friend Michael (Mulroney, of course), but only after he's asked someone else to marry him and then invited Julianne to the big, happy, multi-day event. She heads to the festivities, but only has selfish thoughts of stopping the wedding and trying to nab Michael for herself. The movie made almost $300 million worldwide, so no one should doubt the impact that Mulroney and Roberts can have when they work on the right project together.
The entire first season of Homecoming is available on Amazon Prime right now for your weekend binging. The series has joined a massive list of other shows debuting or returning to the airwaves this season, so be sure to keep up with everything that's set for the small screen in the next few months by checking out our 2018 fall premiere guide. You can also see what else has come to Amazon and its streaming competition, Netflix, this year, to round out your viewing options.