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HBO Orders Julia Child Pilot, Adds Key Cast Members to ‘Gossip Girl,’ ‘Station Eleven’

Fern Siegel

As HBO Max nears its May debut, it’s added cast and shows to its lineup.

For openers, Julia Child gets a comeback on the small screen. HBO Max greenlit a pilot order for a series based on the life and work of the famed cookbook author and host of “The French Chef.” “Julia” will star Sarah Lancashire (“Last Tango in Halifax,” “Happy Valley,” both on Netflix) as the bubbly cook and Tom Hollander (“Bird Box, “Pirates of the Caribbean”) as her husband. Bebe Neuwirth (“Cheers,” “Frasier”) plays Child’s best friend, notes The Wrap.

The show will address the rise of public TV, feminism and her loving marriage. Daniel Goldfarb (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Tyrant”) will write the series for the streamer.

(In 2009, the film “Julie and Julia,” starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, weaved a cross-time tale between a food blogger and the famed Child.)

Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi is now part of the 10-part “Tokyo Vice” series. She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in “Babel.” “Tokyo Vice” is based on a book by journalist Jake Adelstein, who was the first foreigner to work for Japan’s largest newspaper, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Adelstein’s book is a real-life account of covering the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat. Ansel Elgort (“Baby Driver”) plays Adelstein, who wrote about Tadamasa Goto, a yakuza boss. THR says Japanese production company AOI Pro was going to film in Tokyo, but reportedly pulled out, given worries about Goto’s role in the show. Ken Watanabe (“The Last Samurai”) is cast as a detective in the Tokyo police.

On the teen front, six actors will join Emily Alyn Lind (“Revenge,” “Code Black”) in the reboot of the “Gossip Girl” sequel, set eight years after the original series. Thomas Doherty (“Legacies,” Hulu’s “High Fidelity”) and Tavi Gevinson (“Scream Queens”) have been added.

The show, about privileged Upper East Side teens, was one of the first originals for The CW; it aired between 2007 and 2012. The new “Gossip Girl” will comment on how social media — and New York — has changed. Whitney Peak (“Home Before Dark,” Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”), Eli Brown (“Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists”), Johnathan Fernandez (“Lethal Weapon”) and Jason Gotay (“Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark”) have been tapped, too.

Deadline also reported that Nabhaan Rizwan (“1917”) and Philippine Velge (“Ete ‘85”) will be series regulars in the post-apocalyptic series “Station Eleven.” The drama, based on the book by Emily St. John Mandel, is written and executive produced by Patrick Somerville (“Maniac”). Sounding eerily similar to current events, the plot details survivors of a deadly flu trying to rebuild a devastated world. “Station Eleven” is directed by Hiro Murai (“Atlanta” and HBO’s “Barry”).

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