MONTREAL — Veteran Canadian feature-film producer Prods. La Fete is moving into the TV arena in a big way with the lensing of “Armistead Maupin’s More Tales of the City,” which is currently shooting in Montreal.
The six-hour miniseries, the follow-up to the 1994 PBS mini “Tales of the City,” is being produced by La Fete in association with Showtime Networks, Channel 4 Television and Working Title/Propaganda Films, the latter of which produced the original series.
“More Tales” is slated to air on the Showtime cable web in the summer of 1998.
Several of the cast members from the original show will be back for the sequel, notably Olympia Dukakis as Anna Madrigal, who oversees the apartment complex at 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco. Others returning are Laura Linney as Mary Ann; Thomas Gibson as Beauchamp Day; Barbara Garrick as Beauchamp’s wife, Dede; and William Campbell.
Canuck thesps added
Two key cast members from the original, Chloe Webb and Marcus D’Amico, will not be returning for the second outing. The production will also feature a number of seasoned Canuck thesps, including Jackie Burroughs, Diana Le Blanc, Domini Blythe, Colin Ferguson, Francoise Robertson and Paul Hopkins.
The miniseries has been adapted by British playwright Nicholas Wright from the second novel in Maupin’s series of books and, like the first mini-series, it focuses on the lives of the residents of a ramshackle apartment house in San Francisco.
“More Tales” is being directed by Montreal helmer Pierre Gang, whose first feature, “Sous-Sol,” screened at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
Producer Kevin Tierney, VP at Prods. La Fete, said “More Tales” is the first of several upcoming TV projects for the Montreal company, including a 13-episode drama about gold mining to be shot next year in French for the Radio-Canada network. Until now, La Fete has concentrated on features, particularly family films via its “Tales For All” series of features.
Executive producer duties are being handled by Tim Bevan from Working Title, Alan Poul from Propaganda Films, Suzanne Girard from La Fete, and Maupin, who is closely involved in the project even though he did not pen the script. Shooting continues in Montreal until Oct. 12, with a week of lensing in San Francisco and two days in Mexico.
There is, of course, a bit of irony to shooting such a site-specific project in another city. Prods. La Fete is based in Montreal. And by keeping the project anchored at home, the company snips its overall costs by as much as a third.
A spokeswoman at La Fete also pointed out, “Montreal is very San Francisco.” It’s also a lot cheaper to live there, eh?