A quick search for “Julia Roberts bangs” shows that the internet has been very much obsessed with the actress’s dramatic hair change for her new Amazon Prime Video show Homecoming.
Obviously, that’s not the focal point of the show, but it does offer a look into Roberts’s character, Heidi Bergman, who undergoes a lot across 10 twisting and turning episodes. In a recent interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Roberts and series director Sam Esmail (Emmy-winning creator of Mr. Robot) explained how they crafted these different ensembles.
We first meet Bergman during two different time periods, 2018 and 2022, which are separated by a mysterious four years. Without spoiling anything, Bergman is a completely different person in each of these two periods, and Esmail and Roberts were careful to make sure that her physical appearance reflects that.
“The differences between 2018 and 2022, that’s where we really zeroed in on,” said Esmail. “Because Heidi in 2018 is full of life, and in 2022 it’s the exact opposite — she’s defeated, she’s down on her luck.”
In 2018, Bergman is an optimistic caseworker treating veterans returning home from war at the shady Homecoming facility. In 2022, for reasons kept purposefully vague, she’s a gruff, no-nonsense waitress at a diner. Her changing looks match this personality switch: The bangs give way to a messier part, and her sharp, business-minded dresses are swapped out for rolled-up sleeves and a waitress’s apron.
“With the costumes, they provided me with a lot of choice, and I just very quickly fell into a place where I was always wearing dresses at the facility,” said Roberts. “That was just something that felt right as we were going through it.”
And what about those dramatic bangs, which raised eyebrows online? “Sam’s way of telling me how he wanted me to look hair-wise was to tell me all the ways he didn’t want me to look hair-wise,” said Roberts. “And so I did a deduction and came up with two hair styles.”
On the subject of deduction, Roberts’s character also spurns makeup, opting to go relatively barefaced. A memorable scene in one episode shows her marveling at the wide selection of cosmetics at a department store. But afterwards, having bought some lipstick and eyeshadow, she wipes her face clean. One could imagine that for Bergman, this absolute honesty makes her a welcoming listener for the troubled soldiers she treats. And for Roberts and Esmail, crafting her appearance was the first priority they tackled together.
“Talking about the hair and the makeup and the wardrobe, that was probably our earliest conversation,” said Esmail. “Julia likes to build her character from the ground up. It’s just really trying to feel the skin that this person is going to be in.”
Heidi Bergman certainly goes through quite the journey, and as you can tell from the ominous trailer, there are more than a few bumps in the road.
Homecoming arrives on Amazon Prime Video on Friday.
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