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Michael Apted

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Also Known As: Michael David Apted Died:
Born: February 10, 1941 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Buckinghamshire, England, GB Profession: director, producer, screenwriter, actor, TV researcher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Having displayed a fondness for both documentaries and feature films, versatile director Michael Apted struck a creative balance between both worlds that was matched by very few of his contemporaries. After establishing himself in his native England with the documentary series "7 Up," as well as numerous episodes of various television shows, Apted journeyed to America, where he garnered instant credibility with "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980), widely considered to be one of the best musical biopics ever made. He stumbled a bit with the understated comedy "Continental Divide" (1981) before achieving box office success with the dense crime thriller, "Gorky Park" (1983). Apted directed Sigourney Weaver as a fervent Dian Fossey in "Gorillas in the Mist" (1988), which he followed with the compelling courtroom drama "Class Action" (1991). While continuing the "7 Up" documentaries throughout the decades, the director struggled to retain his footing in the feature world, even as he took the reigns of the James Bond franchise with "The World Is Not Enough" (1999), a rather tepid affair that featured listless action and one of the most bemoaned Bond girl of all time. Though he found his stride directing...

Having displayed a fondness for both documentaries and feature films, versatile director Michael Apted struck a creative balance between both worlds that was matched by very few of his contemporaries. After establishing himself in his native England with the documentary series "7 Up," as well as numerous episodes of various television shows, Apted journeyed to America, where he garnered instant credibility with "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980), widely considered to be one of the best musical biopics ever made. He stumbled a bit with the understated comedy "Continental Divide" (1981) before achieving box office success with the dense crime thriller, "Gorky Park" (1983). Apted directed Sigourney Weaver as a fervent Dian Fossey in "Gorillas in the Mist" (1988), which he followed with the compelling courtroom drama "Class Action" (1991). While continuing the "7 Up" documentaries throughout the decades, the director struggled to retain his footing in the feature world, even as he took the reigns of the James Bond franchise with "The World Is Not Enough" (1999), a rather tepid affair that featured listless action and one of the most bemoaned Bond girl of all time. Though he found his stride directing episodic television - particularly on the acclaimed HBO series, "Rome" (2005-07) - Apted still remained a bit of a box office mystery, despite his long and venerable career.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

3.
4.
  49 Up (2006)
5.
  Enough (2002) Director
6.
  Enigma (2001) Director
7.
8.
  42 Up (1999) Director
9.
  Me & Isaac Newton (1999) Director
10.
  Always Outnumbered (1998) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Spies Like Us (1985) Ace Tomato Agent
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as researcher for the current-affairs program "World in Action" on Granada TV
:
Directed episodes of "All Our Yesterdays" and "Coronation Street" on Granada TV
1963:
Was an assistant to director Paul Almond for "7 Up" on Granada TV
1970:
Directed "Seven Plus Seven," a documentary update for Granada TV of Almond's "7 Up"
1973:
Made feature directorial debut with "Triple Echo"
1975:
Directed "Stardust," a provocative and believable look at a fictional, Beatles-like rock group
1977:
American TV directorial debut, the PBS special "Childhood"
1977:
Directed "21 Up," a continuing update for Granada TV of Almond's "7 Up"
1978:
Made debut as a stage director with "Strawberry Fields" at the National Theatre in London
1979:
Directed "Agatha," a fictional speculation on Agatha Christie's famous 11-day disappearance in 1926
1980:
Directed first American film "Coal Miner's Daughter"; first collaborations with Tom Rickman who scripted and Tommy Lee Jones who co-starred
1981:
Teamed with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and executive producer Steven Spielberg for "Continental Divide"
1983:
Directed "Gorky Park," an absorbing murder mystery set in Russia starring John Hurt
1984:
Directed "28 Up" for Granada TV
1985:
Produced the feature version of "28 Up," consolidating the four TV documentaries begun by Almond 21 years before in "7 Up"
1985:
Directed the documentary "Bring On the Night" about the formation of Sting's rock-jazz band
1985:
Appeared as Ace Tomato Agent in John Landis' "Spies Like Us"
1988:
Directed Sigourney Weaver in "Gorillas in the Mist," based on the life of Dian Fossey
1989:
Directed a documentary about Russian rock star Boris Grebenshikov, "The Long Way Home"
1991:
Directed Gene Hackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in "Class Action" as father-daughter lawyers on opposite sides of a class-action lawsuit against a negligent auto company
1991:
Directed the premiere episode of "My Life and Times" (ABC)
1991:
Earned first screenplay credit for "35 Up"; also produced and directed
1992:
Brought the franchise to America, producing "Age 7 in America" for CBS
1992:
Journeyed into Sioux Indian country, directing "Thunderheart" and "Incident at Oglala"
1992:
Co-executive produced Francis Ford Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula"
1993:
Served as co-executive producer of Forest Whitaker's directing debut, "Strapped" (HBO)
1994:
Scripted and directed "Moving the Mountain," a documentary look inside the inner circle of China's pro-Democracy leaders
1994:
Directed Jodie Foster in her Oscar nominated role "Nell"
1997:
Produced and directed "Inspirations," a documentary detailing the creative process of seven celebrated artists
1998:
Directed the modern urban fable "Always Outnumbered" (HBO)
1998:
Executive produced "14 Up in America"
1998:
Produced and directed the continuing series "42 Up" for Granada TV
1999:
Directed the 19th film in the James Bond film series "The World Is Not Enough"
2002:
Directed Jennifer Lopez as an abused woman who strikes back in "Enough"
2002:
Created the documentary series "Married in America," which followed nine newlywed couples over ten years
2003:
Replaced Martha Coolidge as President of the DGA
2005:
Returned to television, directing the first three episodes of the HBO series "Rome"
2007:
Helmed "Amazing Grace," a film about the slave trade in 19th century Britain
2010:
Directed the third installment of the Narnia films "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"
2012:
With Curtis Hanson, co-directed sport drama "Chasing Mavericks"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

City of London School: -
Downing College, University of Cambridge: - 1963
Downing College, University of Cambridge: - 1963

Notes

"I've always had this double interest. I was able, largely because of the 'Up' films, to keep the two strands going, and I do it as much as I can. There was a period when I would do only the 'Up' films other than fictional films, but then they became so successful around the world that they opened the doors for me to keep the [other] documentaries going. Now I find I do more and more, maybe because it's harder to find fiction films to resond to. I respond to the documentaries more because they're my statement, they're very personal to me. They're my films, whereas getting caught up in the studio system, sometimes it's hard not to think of yourself as a hired gun." --Michael Apted quoted in Moviemaker, April 1998.

"And another interesting thing is, 'How important is the scene?' Because I'm also of the belief, that not all scenes are as important as others. In terms of--how much time am I going to spend on this scene? I'm very careful about that, when I do my schedule, I think that's part of the job to be able to make those value judgments about where you want to spend your time.

"When I've produced stuff, and I've produced first-time directors, it's something I try to instill in them but it's very hard to get because they want everything to be good. But I say to them, 'Don't waste a lot of time on this scene. It's going to be in the movie but it's not that important. Don't cover that scene from here to Christmas. Just move on.' And that's a hard thing to grasp. The more experience you get, the more comfortable you are with that." --Apted, in DGA Magazine, December 1997-January 1998.

On joining the James Bond franchise for "The World Is Not Enough": "At first I was surprised they wanted to make any change to the formula. But their appetite for something new coincided with my views and when I saw what was in the back of their minds, all doubts were removed about my involvement. They knew the action would be in good hands with regulars like second unit director Vic Armstrong and stunt co-ordinator Simon Crane. They've got it down pat, so the action would take care of itself. It was a daunting prospect, I won't deny it. There's a lot of expectation that comes with a Bond film which can be intimidating. But going in, my one major worry was could I handle such a scale of movie on a tough 110-day schedule.

"Looking back ... the biggest surprise is I'm not tired or worn out from it all. I've still got all my marbles. I've learned such bad habits, though. How can I go back to an ordinary 50-day shoot." --quoted in Cinemafantastique, December 1999.

"Americans want to be in show business ... Whereas it's a nightmare for me to persuade these good [English] souls to do it every seven years. Doing it in America, it's fighting them off. America is much more celebrity-conscious than England. We will see whether the subjects of the American one can have a kind of serious life, or get swallowed up. I doubt it. In England they're celebrities for about six weeks after it's broadcast, but it doesn't really affect their lives in the celebrity sense." --Apted quoted in Daily News, November 16, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Joan Apted. Producer. Married on July 9, 1966; has production company, Promenade Films; divorced.
wife:
Dana Apted. Screenwriter.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Ronald William Apted.
mother:
Frances Amelia Apted.
son:
James Apted. Cameraman. Worked as second assistant camera (second unit) on "Pleasantville" (1998), among other films.
son:
Paul Apted. Sound effects editor. After working as an assistant on father's projects, graduated to sound effects editor on movies like "Alien Resurrection" (1997), "The X-Files" and "Dr. Dolittle" (both 1998).
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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