Homecoming Creators Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg Discusses Season 2 And Expanding Their Story From The Podcast

Homecoming Season 2

Homecoming started as a podcast created by Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg, then became a huge success when it debuted for Amazon Prime in 2018.  When the show got the green light by Amazon the first season stuck pretty close to the story on the podcast but the second season has deviated from the podcast to expand on stories and different characters. I had the amazing opportunity to speak with the creators of Homecoming Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg where they discussed the challenges of expanding the story from season one to season two.

Nancy Tapia: Well, I’m excited to chat with you guys. I had a chance to bench watch season one on Saturday while doing some painting. It was perfect! My paint roller kept getting dry, thanks guys. Also had the opportunity check out season two, first seven episodes, and my goodness. The whole time was like, what, what, what? Because everything was just all coming up. But also I want to say congratulations on season two and what can the viewers  expect from season two?

Micah Bloomberg: Right. Yeah, so what we were excited about with season two is sort of dropping our audience off very far away from where they left us at the end of season one. And having them be like wait, what’s going on now? I don’t get it. And then introducing them to this new character that we’re really excited about playing by Janelle Monae. And so that you’d spend maybe a couple moments being like wait, am I in the right TV show here? And then sort of connecting with that character of Janelle and then following her back to the world that we know of Geist and the things that we established in season one, and then seeing that world from a new perspective. Kind of taking the camera and putting it in a different part of the room and seeing some stuff that we saw in season one from a new perspective and learning more about some characters that we only glimpsed the first time around.

Nancy Tapia: What’s the highlight of this season from season one?

Eli Horowitz: Well, I don’t know if this is exactly an answer but there’s that scene at the end of season one where Temple and Collin meet in the boardroom and their power dynamic suddenly shifts. That’s one of my favorite scenes in season one, just because of how they played it and how it turned out. So I think that shows a couple of purposes in relation to season two. First of all, this character Temple suddenly becomes so interesting so then I think the idea that you get a whole season at first can be pretty exciting. Also though, as Micah said, in season two you realize that what you thought you were seeing in that scene was not right at all, there’s a whole beneath the surface. And so hopefully that raises all sorts of questions and makes you curious about everything you’re seeing. What else could be going on? What are you overlooking? Who are you overlooking?

Nancy Tapia: It definitely did. So Homecoming is based on your guys’ podcast, Gimlet Media Podcast. What were there some of the challenges you had when it came to putting it into a screen?

Micah Bloomberg: Yeah, I mean, for season one, that was the whole challenge with taking these quiet scenes between two and three people and turning them into a visual story, and so I think season one really bears a lot of the fingerprints and the feeling of a podcast where there’s a lot of intimacy and there’s a lot of sort of slow burn dread.

Then for season two, our question was how much of that strategy do we hang on to and how much do we sort of let these characters out into the world and how much do we utilize even more visual storytelling? So for that reason, Kyle Patrick Alvarez, our director for season two, was such a great asset because we were really breaking open the world and sort of leaving the enclosed sort of box that we built for season one and we were really breaking it open for season two.

So I think by the time we came to write season two, we’d learned a lot of what we like to do with the visual medium and hopefully applied some of those lessons as we were moving forward.

Nancy Tapia: What were your challenges connecting both seasons? Because, obviously we’ve watched season one and you’re still connecting these stories. What was your organization? Were you constantly making changes? How did you guys work together with that?

Eli Horowitz: What helps is so we write all the episodes in advance of filming the season. And in fact, we start writing some of the episodes before we even know we have an idea of where it goes, but we’re not totally sure. So we leap in to discover stuff along the way and then we still have time in the process to go back and pick our lane, get everything lined up so it does end up with this hopefully really tight plausible plot where everything connects.

So in terms of the one to two connections, I think that was a challenge, but it was one that we were really excited to tackle. We think of how can we re-contextualize things, how can we surprise you, how can people that you thought were gone, come back? And as Micah said, we start Janelle away from this story and she has to find her way back to the main plot, so then that led us to use the connection between the seasons almost as its own storyline that slowly builds over time. So it was a challenge, but it was a fun one.

Nancy Tapia:  How did you know what characters to use from season one to continue on to season two?

Micah Bloomberg: Well, so we knew that Temple was a character that we were really interested in and so when we had this sort of hidden mini arc of her in season one where you sort of see her as a person at a desk and then by the end of the season, she’s toppled Colin in this sort of very surprising scene at the end of the season. And we took that as our sort of seed for building her character for season two and we thought it would be really interesting to think what if there was more going on in that scene then it had first appeared. And sort of from that dynamic, we built a whole character and relationship that Temple has to her girlfriend, Alex, and how Temple came to be there that day. So she was really the bridge for us between the two seasons and Colin and the other members of the Geist universe sort of fell in place around that.

Eli Horowitz: And then of course there’s Walter, who was the other big line. And for him we sort of wanted to reverse his storyline to some extent, because in season one he’s so innocent and almost passive in a sense. He’s the one who has no idea what’s going on all around him, whereas in season two we wanted him to be the one driving some action, at least towards the end.

Nancy Tapia: I did not anticipate Walter coming back for season two from watching season one. I figured where he left off in season one with Heidi it felt right. So, that was a surprise.

Eli Horowitz: Also, Stephan is so great to work with and capable of so much more that I was just excited to involve them in any way.

Nancy Tapia: What would you say is going to be different for season two versus season one?

Eli Horowitz: Well, I think visually we’re dealing with a look that’s related, but sort of really expands on the world of season one. And as far as just sort of in the thriller vein, it’s something that’s a little bit more fast paced, a little more kinetic, something that, like I said earlier, it gets you out of these sort of airless rooms where there’s this era of paranoia and mystery that we loved from season one, and in season two making things a little bit more about action in danger while really keeping a lot of the character and psychological complexity that we love to play with.

Also Check Out: Homecoming Actress Hong Chau Discusses Season 2 And Her Character Audrey Having A Bigger Role

Nancy Tapia: Now you guys as the creators, so I have to ask, if you had a chance to take a potion to erase or delete a little bit of some pain in life, would you consider it?

Micah Bloomberg: I actually have, I spent a lot of my life taking potions to erase memories and I’ve found like Geist says, you can take yourself down to the studs, but the pain is still there. So I think I’d have to say you’re probably better off dealing with it than taking a magic potion to make your problems go away.

Nancy Tapia: What about you, Eli? Would you?

Eli Horowitz: Yeah, I think that’s right. I think we all have that … We can all feel that yearning, but it’s never that simple because you can make the memory go away, but the person you are is still shaped by it and I think it can be very destabilizing if you don’t know how you became the way that you are. So I think we need that full story to understand that it’s never that simple.

Nancy Tapia: Can you tell me how you came up with the new characters, the new cast?

Eli Horowitz: Sure. Well, I guess I’ll start with maybe with Chris Cooper for Geist was one that we were particularly excited to get, and for that we needed an actor who would be compelling and sympathetic, but wouldn’t shy away from this character, warts and all, because in a way he’s the one who is responsible for all of this trouble. He was sort of in denial about the company he had created and that led to all the stuff that happened because he was the one responsible, it was his company. So yeah, we wanted someone who wouldn’t shy away from playing that part of the character, but at the same time would be miles away from the classic cliche of the slick CEO in the suit and the board, and he’s just such an amazing performer. Such a privilege to watch him on a day by day and take by take level.

Nancy Tapia: Yeah, he’s actually one of my favorite characters. You’re kind of cheering for him, but cheering for Audrey at the same time.

Eli Horowitz: Right.

Nancy Tapia: What can you say about the filming locations?

Micah Bloomberg: Yeah, so we had sort of some established locations that we went to from season one, the Geist lobby and Lake Arrowhead, where we shot Walter’s stuff, so we sort of just took that as our basis and built from there. We built a bunch of our sets on Universal lots and then yeah, we went out into the world because as I was saying, this season takes place out in the woods and there’s a lot more exterior locations than we had in season one, so we were kind of scouring California for cool steep hillsides and awesome tree lines and stuff to give us some of that scope that we wanted.

Nancy Tapia: Well, congratulations guys, my time’s up, but we’re very excited … I’m excited to finish watching season two on May 22nd on Amazon Prime. Viewers in over 200 countries are going to be viewing this, so I am super excited for you guys.

Homecoming Season 2 debuts May 22 on Amazon Prime.

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