REPORT: Netflix Develops Tales Of The City Update

Variety reports:

Netflix is developing a new installment of “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City” with Working Title Television U.S. Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis are on board to revive the characters they played in Showtime and PBS adaptations of the landmark LGBT-themed novel series in the 1990s.

Michael Cunningham (“The Hours”) has penned the first script for what is envisioned as a 10-part installment, although the project does not yet have a series order from Netflix. Maupin would return as an executive producer, and Alan Poul is on board to direct. Netflix declined to comment.

Prolific novelist Maupin launched the series that follows a colorful, diverse group of characters living in San Francisco as a newspaper serial in 1976. He has published nine novels in the “Tales” series, with 2014’s “The Days of Anna Madrigal” said to be the final edition of the book series.

(Tipped by JMG reader Gordon)

  • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

    🎼 LOVE THIS!!!! ♫

  • Oscarlating Wildely

    Michael Cunningham could write a grocery list and I’d flock to read it. Yea, I know, he’s had some foibles. But after The Hours, I have not stopped reading him.

    • Blobby

      i adored the Hours…….and the movie was great Or at least the editing was.

      • Oscarlating Wildely

        The editing in the intro– just how to captures their movement and emotion across time and place– loved it.

    • Bryan

      Oh wow, I forgot Phillip Glass wrote the music.

    • narutomania

      Did you read “Specimen Days” ? I picked it up with high hopes right when it came out, and I stopped after four pages. I couldn’t get past the dialogue of one character in particular. So I decided to try it again recently after learning that the character spoke oddly because he was quoting Whitman from “Leaves of Grass”. (The title “Specimen Days” is also a reference to Whitman.) I made it to page 60 this time.

      What are you thoughts on it (if you’ve read it)?

  • Are they going to pick up at the fourth book? Or start over? It’s hard to imagine anyone being a better Maryann than Laura Linney. Although personally the best book of the series is Michael Tolliver Lives.

    • Gigi

      I haven’t read that one. I’m gonna look for it right now. Thanks!

      • djcoastermark

        Wonderful and sad knowing it is the last one about Barbary Lane family.

        • Janice

          There are two more books after Michael Tolliver Lives!

      • Michael has to choose between his mom and Ann Madrigal. It’s an excellent commentary on what the gay children of conservative parents go through. It’s an angry and beautiful book. Maybe the best one on that particular topic.

    • Gordon Portman

      My guess is they’re going to do the second last one – Mary Ann in Autumn … and maybe the final one, Days of Anna Madrigal.

      • Although I liked that he redeemed the Mary Ann character (according to the dedication, specifically for Linney who must have been aghast when she read MTL!), I did find much of that book eye-rollingly contrived, even for Maupin. Granted, I do enjoy how he does the convergent novel thing with a nod too all those great serial writers like Dickens, but…(okay no spoilers, but anyone who has read the book knows what I mean).

        • Mrs. Councillor Nugent

          Has Mary Ann adjusted to pour over coffee yet?

    • Bryan F. Irrera

      They will be picking up at either Michael Tolliver Lives or (more likely since Linney is attached) with Mary Anne in Autumn.

    • Gerry Fisher

      “Sure of You” is my favorite. “The Days of Anna Madrigal” was a better than expected wrap up, IMO. The ending was exhilarating.

  • Gigi
  • djcoastermark

    I would just love to see every book in the series made into a “series.” When I saw that after a long break in the book series , “The Days of Anna Madrigal ” was coming out, I was so excited and sad, at the same time, knowing this beloved series of books was coming to an end. I still have a copy of each one of the books since they came out. Such a great real time (?) compilation.

    • Reality.Bites

      There were two books set before Days but after the long gap. Michael Tolliver Lives! and Mary Ann in Autumn or something similar.

  • bkmn

    Subscribing to Netflix was one of the better choices I made about a decade ago. This will definitely add value to the subscription.

  • Blobby

    what doesn’t Parker Posey make better……….I mean, except “You’ve Got (she)Mail”?

    • Gigi


  • Blake J Butler

    If you love Harry Potter and diss Trump this is for you.

    • EdmondWherever

      I’d swear that was John Williams himself at the piano there…

    • olandp

      I call bullshit! Kellyanne Conway doesn’t have a soul and McTurtle doesn’t have a chin.

  • DreadPikathulhu

    Looking forward to this. Such a simpler time.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok
  • bkmn

    O/T – Bitch McTraitor is trying to ram his health care fuckup bill/mega-tax cut for the uber-rich through. He has submitted a revised bill to the CBO and will try to bring it up for a vote on Friday.

  • That_Looks_Delicious

    I liked that. Not as much as the books, but it was still pretty good. Hopefully the new installment is as good.

  • olandp

    Can’t wait for a new installment!

    I saw Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes Saturday afternoon with Laura Linney as Bertie, the role for which Cynthia Nixon won the Tony. I cannot imagine anyone else being better in the role, Linney was amazing, Nixon must be awesome!

    • Cuberly

      GAH! Lucky you! I really like the play but can only imagine what it’d be like with such a stellar cast.

    • MichaelJ

      I saw it the other way around a couple of weeks ago, with Cynthia Nixon and Bertie and Laura Linney as Regina, which I thought was perfect. And afterward I watched the set of four You Tube videos where you can compare the performances of each actress doing the same two scenes–the one where Bertie admits she drinks and was the last to know why her husband married her, and the one where Regina explains that she was “lonely” in her own sense of the word.
      Either way you can’t go wrong with these great actresses, though I preferred the way I saw it. Nixon’s Bertie came across as frail in a way that Linney’s didn’t, and it was heartbreaking to watch. Linney has a stronger voice than Nixon, which was suitable for Regina, and she had a touch of humor to the role that was not evident in Nixon’s performance, at least in the You Tube video I watched.

    • PhilBob13

      I’m such a theatre geek (and Little Foxes is a favorite of mine), so I had to see it twice. I preferred LL as Regina and CN as Birdie (my second viewing). I also really enjoyed LL’s Birdie, but it was different, and had more force behind it than one would traditionally expect from that character.

  • Slippy_World

    Bring back Sense8 and I’ll really celebrate this ….

    • tomfromthenews

      That was so awesome. Their own homage to From Here to Eternity.

    • josephsinger

      We’re talking Tales of the City. Why not start your own thread on Sense8?

      • greenmanTN

        Because no one here “starts threads” other than Joe, so the comments tend go further afield?

        Just a guess…

        That’s actually one of the things I like about the comments here.

    • The Milkman

      Yummy men… wow. But do guys really wear thongs all that much? Maybe I’m just Methodist, but yeesh. I’m reminded of Legally Blonde… “You know a Delta Nu would never have sex with a man wearing a THONG.”

  • Mrs. Councillor Nugent

    Be still my heart!

  • JT

    I’m looking forward to it. But I don’t know if it will be as funny without Maupin writing it.

    • TampaDink

      He didn’t write all of the episodes of the original filmed series….and since he’s on board, I’m sure he’ll make sure that the writing meets his standards.

  • Peter Cotes

    Olympia Dukakis is my Anna Madrigal, for all time.

  • Ranger One


  • Mike

    Variety says it’s going to be set in the present day. I guess that means it will cover the last two or three books of the series, which came out recently. Good luck to the people who know the story only from the TV series. Without the developments in books four through six, how would they know they’re supposed to hate Maryann’s guts? Lots of exposition, I suppose. Still, it’s very exciting, but I’d have preferred to see scenes of Wimminwood.

    • Circ09

      You mean people don’t already hate Maryann’s guts? Huh. I tired of her stupid straight ass by the time second series got going. And absolutely loathed her by the 3rd. But the 3rd was so terribly written I mainly remember fast-forwarding through. The 1st mini that PBS did was the only one of real quality.

      • Mike

        The way I remember it, Maryann began to be awful in Babycakes, and by the end of Sure of You all you want is for her to get hit by a cable car. The recent last two books were bittersweet. I liked them. It was Michael who was most insufferable by the very end.

  • FAEN

    Interested to see how they update this.

  • Jesus could you scrub Mouse Tolliver any more completely from that old trailer? He’s like the avatar for Maupin himself.

    • vstill

      What a stunning avatar you have Lil Nephew! Perfectly scaled and cropped proportions that catches one’s eye right away. Did you create it yourself, or has it been “obtained” from elsewhere? Anyway, excellent graphic qualities and color contrasts. So much fun.

    • Westcoast88

      Mouse was my favorite character in the first series. They replaced the actor who played him, big mistake, barely watchable the second time around.

      • Elsewhere1010

        Because the original Mouse, Marcus D’Amico started the project about doing press about how great it was to be an out gay man playing a major gay role and by the final night of shooting showed up on set with his publicist and he female “fiancee”. Mr. Maupin was not pleased with Mr. D’Amico’s newly minted claim to be heterosexual, and the public argument that night is a thing of legend.

        The other version of the story is that he turned down a sexual advance from Maupin. Or he was offered the role in Part 2 and declined to do other projects.Decide for yourself.

        FYI, I despised Mouse V.1. For me, D’Amico played a not-real-smart fuck up who got by with his shit because he was pretty. (I wonder hoe I really feel…). With him, I found no “there” there. I found Paul Hopkins in More Tales to be warmer and more grounded, giving a better performance.

  • Adam King

    I lost interest in this series decades ago.

  • narutomania

    WOOHOO!!!!! Aw, mate, I can’t wait !!!!

  • Sam_Handwich

    but is it organic?

  • Natty Enquirer

    I hope they don’t drive it into the ground and leave a bad taste. Tales very much depends on a certain 70s flavor that is hard to capture, especially if you weren’t alive in the 1970s. And I hope Linney will sound more engaging than that awful robotic voice she uses on Masterpiece.

  • Despite the fact that it was well-played and groundbreaking at the time, I can’t help but remember thinking it was a bit tame compared to the books. A bit Thirtysomething-ish. I hope the update is a bit more full-blooded and even lurid. Even with Linney and Dukakis, it’s ploddingly scripted and directed and doesn’t have the breathless pace of a newspaper serial. I would be perfectly happy to start the whole thing again from scratch, parhaps with someone like Gus Van Sant producing. I thought his grasp of 70’s San Francisco in ‘Milk’ was top-notch.

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Well, it is Netflix, so one can hope.

    • Dazzer

      It depended what version you saw. The first two series were co-produced with Channel 4 in the UK. What we saw in the UK seems to have been far better paced and sexier than what was shown in the US at the time.

      I worked on the original series and what we saw in Britain was infinitely better than that which was broadcast in the US.

      I don’t know which version Netflix has, but if there is a choice between the different versions, the UK option was infinitely better than the US series.

      • I watched it on Channel 4 so it was definitely the UK version.

  • mizzourah

    Yay!! Come on, Netflix, order an entire series. And while you’re at it, run the 3 mini-series’ too. It’s a shame they are never on Netflix, Amazon, etc, when so much 1-star LGBT films are. All gays should be required to watch them, especially those arriving in San Francisco

    • DaddyRay

      You can actually find them on YouTube for free

      • Jmdintpa

        thank you for that tip Daddy

        • DaddyRay

          I was going to copy the links but apparently they have all been removed and they have them for rent now 🙁

          • Johnny Wyeknot

            It’s all your fault!

      • mizzourah

        Good to know, although I really wish mass audiences could watch them easily.

  • Jacob

    I cried my eyes out reading Days. I would love to see this.

  • Reality.Bites
  • DaddyRay

    YES YES YES – I love Tales of the City, read all of the books.
    Own the video on VHS and DVD – I watch it any time I am blue or home sick with a cold.

    • grindstone

      I was perusing an acquaintance’s bookshelf many years ago. They had signed copies of the full series of books– my eyes grew big and I asked him to will them to me. He told me to take a number.

  • Nychta

    Some of my favorite stories, characters and settings. Began reading the books when I found the first volume in a SF B&B where my then partner and I were staying as we scouted our move from Madison WI to SF (back in the days when mere mortals could afford to live there). I have all the volumes except the last one, which I’ve yet to read. I seem to have some hesitation about reading the final volume in a beloved series.

    • David Walker

      Understood, but it ties up loose ends and comes to a satisfying end. Trust Armistead. He’s not going to fuck with his characters.

      • Nychta

        Thanks for the encouragement – I now look forward to reading it.

        • David Walker

          Just have some tissues nearby.

    • Johnny Wyeknot

      It’s been so long I have to start all over again!

  • Gerry Fisher

    As long as Maupin retains power, I feel confident in the project. Yay!

  • josephsinger

    IMO the PBS series was much better than the Showtime produced series. If Netflix does do it I hope they lean more towards the way the PBS production handled it.

  • fuzzybits

    I remember when people couldn’t wait to get the newspaper to read the latest installment.

    • 2guysnamedjoe

      Oliver Twist was also first published as a serial, in a monthly magazine. Each episode ended with a cliff-hanger, just like Tales of the City.

      • Johnny Wyeknot

        And I’m sure you couldn’t wait for the next installment. 😉

        • Gianni


  • Robincho

    There can NEVER be enough Tales of the City. EVER…

  • Johnny Wyeknot

    The original Tales of the City spoke to a lot of people.

  • bdsmjack

    Great news! I love the books and the PBS series. That was an incredible adaptation, so true to the source.

  • CityWOOF

    I adore Laura Linney, but she’s a bit long in the tooth to be playing fresh-faced 25 year old Mary Ann Singleton.

  • Vinnie NYC

    I re-read all nine books last summer. One of the highlights of summer 2016. It was so much fun reliving my youth.

  • The Milkman

    Tales of the City made me fall in love with San Francisco. (Well… the San Francisco that existed before 2000. I still love SF, but time and change have certainly altered much – but not all – of what Anna Madrigal might have recognized.) I read the books voraciously while I was auditioning for graduate schools, which made those trips so much less stressful. Even now, living in Atlanta, I judge apartments and condos by how closely they resemble the 28 Barbary Lane in my mind.

    • SJWinCMH

      The first two books helped me make it through high school when life was looking mighty bleak. Through the books I fell in love with San Francisco and eventually lived there until 2003. I’ve been lucky enough to meet Armistead Maupin a couple of times and but could never tell him just how much the books meant to me without getting too emotional. They literally helped save my life. How could I not love them?

  • Daveed_WOW

    Meow but aren’t they all a little old for those parts?