Serie - Homecoming Season 2 : Interview Kyle Patrick Alvarez (director) & Sam Esmail (Executive Producer)
Par Mulder, Los Angeles, le 18.05.2020
The critically-acclaimed series Homecoming returns for its second season with a fresh new mystery and an exciting new star, Janelle Monáe. Her character wakes in a rowboat adrift a lake, with no memory of how she got there — or even who she is. Her ensuing search for identity will lead her into the heart of the Geist Group, the unconventional wellness company behind the Homecoming Initiative.
Q : Hello Kyle Patrick and Sam Esmail we are so proud to talk with the two great Homecoming directors. What can you tell us about your collaboration on this second season, Kyle as the new director and Sam as the executive producer ?
Sam Esmail : You know obviously the idea was is that every season will have its own director and its own vision. Because the second season was already shifting point of view. From Heidi, Julia Roberts character to Jackie, Janelle Monáe character in this second season. It was sort of going outside of the world of the Homecoming experiment... We really just want to find a director with his own unique vision. Kyle is just the perfect person. He totally understood the DNA and what I was trying to do in the first season but also about things to involve into a different way. That's how we anticipate the things to come in the first season and this is why in the second season we need somebody with a different vision, a different sensibility to take over and how was that guy.
Q : I have a question for you both, Have any challenge when you directed the first season and it was a success do you have any challenges for the second one so you can take pressure to do as much good as the first one ?
Sam Esmail : Well, I'll just quickly say for the first season I think there's an enormous amount of pressure. Weirdly, you know the podcast is obviously great and I really wanted I mean there's a pressure from me to make sure I didn't screw this up. As a fan of movies and TV shows I always get frustrated when adaptations with great materials don't translate or they feel redundant. In fact, it was better that I can expect. I did not want to turn the the original podcast. But we also wanted to make sure that we did something unique and different that justifies the television series. Also, we had Julia Roberts Her first starring role in the television series so there's a lot of pressure to make sure I do right by her. I speak for me. She's such an amazing presence we all grew up watching her. So, we want to be sure that that we did this project status specials. There is an enormous amount of pressure going into the first season but I will say. There was just an electricity on set every day regardless of how it was received thank you we can be proud also of the work we did.
Kyle Patrick Alvarez : I mean we live up to season one but also in a weird way everything's translates into just a different way. I was trying to not be redundant season one right. I was trying to also not take away from what season one did so well so a lot of those same feelings it's sort of interesting those are a lot of the similar feelings going on in my hat and that led to a lot of decisions even the house scenes with Chris Cooper and high performances. We would be sure that we were bringing new qualities to the show. You know new things for people to discover as opposed to just giving you more of the same and that started with the structures on it you know in the step being, taking on a different scope and also that pressure to do right thing with Janelle Monáe, Chris Cooper and Joan Cusack in order to answer the fans of the first season.
Q : I'm curious because the first season was just so amazing. Did you have like lot of movie stars asking you, begging you to be part of the second season?
Sam Esmail : Well I don't think. I would say it doesn't really operate like that. We have to go away for the second season. It wasn't really anybody to raise our hamburgers they didn't know what characters we were going to go with. After we sort of crack this season we just immediately when out. Janelle, to be honest with you, we just got so lucky with her. She's not only one of the biggest Stars in the world she's got an amazing presence, her acting is great. We got pretty lucky in the same way first season. Julia was the first person we went to and she said she listens to the podcast said yes. So in that regard, I think we got pretty lucky.
Kyle Patrick Alvarez : Yeah it Helps. You know the first season being so good when you go to an actor like Chris Cooper you het their interest little more. You can see what it is going to be. Chris and Joan were also the first people we went to. I've never had that experience before where usually it's destiny and all those things are true. It was a gift because everyone we had in mind you know want to do it.
Q : I'm interested in your connection to this it's a sci fi genre you guys you both of you have had some incredible projects And so I want to ask about your early influences like what are some of your earliest connections to sci-fi like TV Shows when you're younger or did it come like later on what are some of your earliest influences ?
Sam Esmail : I will just quickly say,. When it came to films it was last sighted by although you know 2001: A Space Odyssey was my favorite movies of all time but it was more than the thriller genre and that's I honestly I don't think when we talk about Homecoming we don't think about it in the same way. You know I don't know if we have the words with sci-fi ones. We always talk about thriller. But when you think about those movies, you like parallax view with the movie Three days of the condor. There is the hunt that there's something near future all posting something insidious is happening that maybe takes a little off reality. But really, it's about keeping it grounded and keeping it about the characters less about any sci-fi. The sci fi elements you know the other influences are there out there is obviously Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock presents. We had a really talk about the concept as Black mirror. Alfred Hitchcock presents was really more about characters and what lives inside them and the mysteries just humanity and to me that's what always resonated in and feels more a connection that I try to do.
Kyle Patrick Alvarez : : you know I have a 2001: A Space Odyssey tattoo. That will always be a lot of influences as North star in season one. We didn't have our story in season two. Isn't your old home feeling you're right so your old a little bit more grandiose Journey to Jackie is going on. So, I'm sort of thinking I had to do, with things in my mind. I say that with humility. But in terms of the approach. It is sort of a mix of what they were doing in season one and throwing in a little bit more. We are trying to bring some new inspiration in there. We take inspiration from out of here in doing something like in the eighties.
Q : My question to both of you is that what were the thematic elements that you both have tried to reserve for the second season and you want to use after ?
Kyle Patrick Alvarez : Yeah for me it was well I think plot wise it was branching out from Jackie memory loss and how she responds to that. And how that drug literally can be manipulated by powerful people. But I think that thematically season two is concerning by ambitions. You'll see as the season unfolds but order you know the Icarus quality; you can want to do something and be the best in something but then that quality can bite you in the ass. The Fall out ambition and not controlling that. That to me is what unified all these themes.
Sam Esmail : Yeah I will throw in there that thematically in this weirdly connects. I think we'll zero all it's a through line for all my work definitely Mr. Robot kind of. The first season of homecoming, as we gone to second season, identity becomes a really big theme. Character really look things inward and asking who they are. I mean literally the beginning of the second season Is a person trying to find out who they really are. And that's something You know for me and as I think about it. They think about why I am fascinated by that theme. I think it's something that they were all grappling. Especially in this age where we can kind of curate and create our identities online and answer fragment into these different subsets right you are different on Facebook then you are on Twitter then you are in person then you are posting on blog or whatever. So whatever reason that theme has a particular resonance with me and I feel like with Homecoming season one where we sort of touched on that a little bit. Kyle, Elli and Micah went to the next level in the second season were becomes the plot and the thing simultaneous.
Q : When we look the two seasons we think about great Hitchcock movies and the music takes an important part on the creation on this one. What can you tell us about the importance of the music in this series?
Kyle Patrick Alvarez : Well for Season one genius thing was using old movie scores and so for season two you know it wasn't a try. I love that I wasn't trying to be defiance to not do that but more that I think it would have been dangerous to try to pull it off again. I think it would've maybe turned what was a really novel in smart thing in season one and actually might have reduced it to a gimmick because it was, you know it is same with the changes right. You don't want it you what those are so driven by the story and so driven by the choices in hiding that if you just replicate those just to replicate them you trivialize them and so one of the things we try to do for season two was bring a composer on. And that was one of the first things that we did and it was a really you know it's a tough decision because the music not unlike a lot of television its music driven in this show really what's right. The music can play over the scene and sometimes be more important than a scene. When you do that, that means you have to have really good music and TV schedules are really fast and it can be really hard to have really special music so we pushed really hard , we recorded with a live score and live orchestra you know which isn't be done and hire a composer, Emile Mosseri who have just blew it out of the water. I'd love it score for his first film; this is a second score really. His first score was for The last black man San Francisco movie that came out last year and it was one of my favorite scores I've heard in a long time and so hiring him was there is always a little bit of risk in the best tires and in this case it really paid off and it's one of the things I'm proudest of the season as the score that you always use referential so it feels like you're getting a little bit of the qualities of season one in there but You don't have enough confidence to let it become something to.
The critically-acclaimed series Homecoming returns for its second season with a fresh new mystery and an exciting new star, Janelle Monáe. Her character wakes in a rowboat adrift a lake with no memory of how she got there -- or even who she is.
Homecoming Season 2
Created by Eli Horowitz, Micah Bloomberg
Based on Homecoming by Eli Horowitz, Micah Bloomberg
Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Producers : Eric Simonson, Marc Bienstock
Starring Janelle Monáe, Chris Cooper, Stephan James, Hong Chau, Chelsea Wallace, Monica Zhang, Chip Chinery, Jake Sidney Cohen, Nicole Alicia Xavier, Johann Carchidi Abreu, Albert Bensabat, Ari Frenkel, Timothy E. Goodwin, Michelle Haro, Anna Jaller Jeni Jones, Mary Anne McGarry, Bilal Mir, Milo Stein and Audrey Wasilewski
Cinematography : Jas Shelton
Editor : Matthew Ramsey
Production companies : Esmail Corp, Gimlet Pictures, Crocodile, We Here At, Red Om Films, Anonymous Content, Universal Cable Productions, Amazon Studios
We would like to thank :
Amandine Rouhaut (Serieously) (France), Jonita Davis (USA), Lorenzo Ormando (Angleterre) and Ravi Bansal (PIT) (Inde) who were present with us during this great press roundtable
Our San Diego editor and photographer Felipe Acevedo for his reread and help
Hugo De Luca and Amazon Prime Video for this great press roundtable
Photos : Copyright Amazon Prime Video