Michael Chabon sits in a futuristic chair on the Discovery bridge set
Michael Chabon in the “Star Trek: Discovery” captain’s chair (Photo/Instagram)

Chabon in captain’s chair for new Star Trek series; ‘Tales of the City’ returns; the Jews of ‘Lion King’

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“Tales of the City,” a 10-episode dramatic series following an eclectic group of friends in San Francisco, is now streaming on Netflix. There were three prior miniseries based on “The Tales of the City” novels that starred Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis, and they co-star again in the Netflix universe. Victor Garber, 70, and Zosia Mamet, 31, have recurring roles as new characters. Garber plays Sam, a volunteer reader for the sight-impaired who reads to Mrs. Madrigal (Dukakis). Mamet, who played Shoshanna on the HBO show “Girls,” plays Claire, a hip documentary maker who becomes the love interest of Linney’s estranged daughter.

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and screenwriter Michael Chabon, 56, of Berkeley, has been named the showrunner of “Star Trek: Picard,” which will stream on CBS AllAccess. The series, reportedly 10 episodes, will star Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Last year, Chabon wrote one episode for the CBS AllAccess series “Star Trek: Short Treks.” In other Chabon news: He and his wife, Ayelet Waldman, 54, co-wrote, along with Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”), the upcoming Netflix limited series “Unbelievable.” The eight-episode series is based on the true story of an 18-year-old girl who recanted her story after she said she was attacked at knifepoint and raped, and the female detectives who strive to dig out the truth. A release date has not been set.


At the movies

“The Art of Self-Defense,” a dark comedy opening July 12 and starring Jesse Eisenberg, 35, got a glowing advance review from Variety. The trade publication calls it “dark, sinister and disarmingly hilarious … this singular black comedy balances off-kilter humor with an unexpectedly thriller-esque undercurrent.”

Jon Favreau, 52, directed a new version of “The Lion King,” the 1994 Disney animated classic. Favreau had a big hit with his 2016 remake of “The Jungle Book,” using motion-capture CGI. In the new “Lion King,” opening July 19, he uses the same techniques. Check out the film’s trailer (tinyurl.com/lking2019) to see if you think it’s better than traditional animation. Seth Rogen, 37, has a starring role as the voice of Pumbaa, a slow-witted warthog, and Billy Eichner, 40, voices Timon, a wise-cracking meerkat. The Oscar-winning score from the 1994 film, by Hans Zimmer, 61, is used in this remake. Favreau has three children with his wife of 19 years, Sonoma-raised physician Joya Tillem, 49. She is the niece of lawyer and former KGO talk show host Len Tillem, 75.


Diamond on Broadway

A new bio-musical about the life and career of pop legend Neil Diamond, 78, will hit Broadway sometime in the next year. The still untitled musical will follow him from a poor, Brooklyn Jewish boy into stardom. Many of Diamond’s songs will be used, and he has expressed happiness with the show and the creative team behind it.

The two principals are certainly top-notch. The director is Michael Mayer, 59, a Tony winner for best direction of a musical (“Spring Awakening”) who’s also adept at fixing scripts when necessary. The show’s book is being written by Andrew McCarten, who nowadays is best known for the multi-Oscar winner “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Nate Bloom

Nate Bloom writes the "Celebrity Jews" column for J.