This post is also available in: Français
Netflix recently ordered 10 episodes of a limited series based on gay author Armistead Maupin’s San Francisco book series Tales of the City. The series will feature Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis, who will reprise their roles as one-time Bay Area newcomer Mary Ann Singleton and transgender landlady Anna Madrigal, roles they played previously in 1994, 1998 and 2001. Openly lesbian actress Ellen Page is also set to star in the Tales of the City Netflix miniseries, portraying Mary Ann’s daughter, Shawna.
It seems as if the Tales of the City Netflix series might follow Maupin’s Mary Ann in Autumn, the eighth book which was released in 2010. It follows Mary Ann’s return to San Francisco 20 years after leaving the town to pursue her career and a perfect life in Connecticut. Fresh from a mid-life crisis, Mary Ann will reunite with her daughter and ex-husband Brian and be “drawn back into the orbit of Anna Madrigal and the residents of 28 Barbary Lane.”
But it’s possible the series might simply draw inspiration from Maupin’s literary world rather than strictly following its action and plotlines.
Maupin’s series first appeared in serialized form in the San Francisco Chronicle on May 24, 1976. It was groundbreaking in its frank, matter-of-fact depiction of recreational use of cannabis and quaaludes as well as of gay and lesbian characters and sex scenes. Gradually Maupin integrated aspects of the HIV epidemic and tales of a closeted mainstream actor later understood to be Rock Hudson.
The first three books have been turned into TV miniseries. The first 1978 book, Tales of the City, was produced by the U.K.’s Channel 4 and broadcast in the United States by PBS in 1994. Then, in 1998 and 2001, the Showtime cable network adapted the 1980 and 1982 book sequels, More Tales of the City and Further Tales of the City, into separate miniseries.
When asked about his book series’ lack of characters of color, Maupin called it “a mistake” made out of fear of misrepresenting characters unlike himself. He added, however, that he and creators of the new Tales of the City Netflix miniseries “are gonna do something about it.”
In a statement Maupin says, “I couldn’t be more excited about this brand-new incarnation of Tales. It’s set in present-day San Francisco with all the joys and complications that might suggest for the residents of 28 Barbary Lane. Mrs. Madrigal’s tenants, both old and new, will be entangled in delicious new adventures and ever-expanding possibilities for love.”
Production will start later this year, and the Tales of the City Netflix series is set to debut in 2019.
What do you think of the upcoming Tales of the City Netflix miniseries? Sound off in the comments.
Featured image of Armistead Maupin and actress Laura Linney by Liz Mangelsdorf via SFC