Michael Apted, ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ Director and ‘Seven Up’ Documentarian, Dies at 79


His physique of labor additionally included ‘Gorky Park,’ ‘Gorillas within the Mist, ‘The World Is Not Sufficient’ and ‘Nell.’

Michael Apted, the acclaimed British director behind the revolutionary collection of decades-spanning Seven Up documentaries and options together with Coal Miner’s DaughterNell and The World Is Not Sufficient, has died. He was 79.

Roy Ashton on the Gersh Company confirmed Apted’s demise to The Hollywood Reporter. No particulars of his passing have been instantly accessible.

Apted made his characteristic directorial debut with the warfare saga The Triple Echo (1972), starring Glenda Jackson and Oliver Reed, and his résumé additionally included Continental Divide (1981), that includes John Belushi as a romantic lead; the crime drama Class Motion (1991), starring Gene Hackman; and the thrillers Gorky Park (1983), that includes William Harm; Thunderheart (1992), with Val Kilmer; Blink (1993), starring Madeleine Stowe; Excessive Measures (1996), that includes Hugh Grant; Enigma (2001), with Kate Winslet; and Sufficient (2002), starring Jennifer Lopez.

Apted served three phrases as DGA president from 2003-09 — the longest consecutive presidential service since George Sidney within the 1960s — and acquired the guild’s Robert B. Aldrich Award in 2013 and its Honorary Life Member honor 5 years later.

“His legacy shall be endlessly woven into the material of cinema and our guild,”  DGA president Thomas Schlamme mentioned in a press release. “A fearless visionary as a director and unparalleled guild chief, Michael noticed the trajectory of issues when others did not, and we have been all of the beneficiaries of his knowledge and lifelong dedication.”

Added DGA previous president Taylor Hackford: “Michael Apted was the definition of ‘mensch’ — just like the fantastic director he was, you may all the time depend on him to ship a transparent and effectively thought out point-of-view, often leavened with a dollop of dry wit.”

He additionally was a member of Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences board of governors.

A lifelong rock ‘n’ roll fan, Apted directed Stardust (1974), which starred real-life rocker British singer-songwriter David Essex and delved into the underbelly of the music world.

His music documentaries included Deliver on the Evening (1985), which chronicled the making of Sting’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles album and subsequent tour (Apted received a Grammy Award for a video from that), and The Lengthy Means Dwelling (1989), about Boris Grebenshchikov, a Soviet model of Bruce Springsteen.

He made a movie about The Rolling Stones’ Forty Licks tour in 2002 that, following a disagreement with Mick Jagger, was by no means launched, and his 1997 doc Inspirations centered on David Bowie and 6 different artists: painter Roy Lichtenstein, sculptor Nora Naranjo Morse, architect Tadao Ando, glass blower Dale Chihuly, choreographer Édouard Lock and dancer Louise LeCavalier.

In his first job after graduating from Cambridge College, the class-conscious Apted was working as a trainee at Granada Tv in 1964 when he was tasked with discovering among the 14 kids who can be interviewed for a 40-minute ITV documentary known as Seven Up!

Paul Almond, the director on the venture, “was extra focused on making a gorgeous movie about being seven, whereas I wished to make a nasty piece of labor about these youngsters who’ve all of it and these different youngsters who don’t have anything,” Apted mentioned in a 2012 RadioTimes interview.

Seven Up! was designed to be a “one-off,” he famous, however Granada determined to test again in on the kids in 1970 with 7 Plus Seven, placing Apted in cost as its producer and director.

He then helmed each subsequent version: 21 Up (1977), 28 Up (1984) — when the contributors started getting paid for his or her time — 35 Up (1991), 42 Up (1998), 49 Up (2005), 56 Up (2012) and 63 Up (2019).

Not the entire authentic youngsters have appeared in each movie, and one, Charles Furneaux, hasn’t been again since 21 Up. “He is now a documentary filmmaker himself [he executive produced 2003’s Touching the Void], which I discover notably laborious to swallow,” Apted mentioned.

Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), starring Sissy Spacek in an Oscar-winning flip as Loretta Lynn, marked his first directing venture within the U.S. He mentioned although he had by no means heard of the nation singer, he bought the job as a result of Joseph Sargent, Common’s first alternative, didn’t assume Spacey seemed sufficient like Lynn to justify her getting the half.

Apted additionally guided Jodie Foster and Sigourney Weaver to finest actress Oscar nominations in Gorillas within the Mist (1988) and Nell (1994), respectively, earlier than tackling the James Bond opus The World Is Not Sufficient (1999), starring Pierce Brosnan.

The 007 movie “actually was kind of by numbers,” he mentioned in a 2013 interview for the DGA web site, “and I feel that is not an uncommon expertise in these large visible results films, when different issues are extra essential than the dialogue and the story generally, at your peril.”

Issues additionally didn’t go easily for him on Vital Situation (1987), with Paramount dropping religion in Richard Pryor’s capability to star in a drama and insisting halfway by way of manufacturing that the film be become a comedy, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Daybreak Treader (2010), with producers slashing his finances after the second movie within the collection tanked.

Michael David Apted was born on Feb. 10, 1941, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England. His father, Ronald, labored for an insurance coverage firm, and his mom, Frances, was a homemaker.

Raised in a working-class neighborhood in East London, Apted noticed Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries as a young person and known as the expertise “a complete epiphany.”

“I used to be an enormous reader, I learn a ton of stuff, and I used to be focused on literature and poetry and all that kind of factor,” he mentioned. “Right here was one thing, a film, that I believed had the gravitas and seriousness of a e book … and from then on I knew what I wished to do.”

Apted acted in performs on the Metropolis of London Faculty, studied legislation and historical past at Cambridge’s Downing Faculty and commenced his present enterprise profession at Granada.

For the younger kids to be profiled in Seven Up!, commissioned for the information collection World in Motion, Apted mentioned he “I wasn’t on the lookout for explicit personalities, I used to be on the lookout for a illustration of various class backgrounds.”

In 1966, he started directing episodes of the Granada-ITV cleaning soap opera Coronation Road, volunteering for that gig when he heard that Mike Newell had gone on trip. He mentioned his cleaning soap opera expertise was the rationale he was employed for The Triple Echo.

“Glenda was on the peak of her energy; she’d simply received one Academy Award [for Women in Love] and was gonna go on and win a second [for A Touch of Class], however she was solely accessible for six weeks,” he mentioned. “And so the individuals who have been mounting the movie thought, ‘Properly, we do not need [John] Schlesinger or Karel Reisz or Lindsay Anderson. They will be there for years doing this. We would higher get somebody from tv who can do it shortly.”

Apted’s subsequent two options have been the crime drama The Squeeze (1977), that includes Stacy Keach, and Agatha(1979), starring Dustin Hoffman and, as Agatha Christie, Vanessa Redgrave.

After Coal Miner’s Daughter — which misplaced out to Unusual Individuals in the most effective image race — Apted left England to stay within the U.S.

His different documentaries included Incident at Oglala (1992), concerning the arrest of Leonard Peltier for the 1975 homicide of two FBI brokers at a Sioux reservation in South Dakota (it served as the idea for Thunderheart): Transferring the Mountain (1994), concerning the Tiananmen Sq. protests; Me & Isaac Newton (1999), a science venture within the mould of Inspirations; and A&E’s Married in America, a form of 7 Up with {couples}.

Extra not too long ago, Apted directed Superb Grace (2006), Chasing Mavericks (2012) — taking on after Curtis Hanson exited due to well being causes — and Unlocked (2017) and known as the photographs on episodes of Ray DonovanMasters of Intercourse and Bloodline.

Survivors embrace his third spouse, Paige, whom he married in January 2014, and kids James, John and Lily. One other son, sound editor Paul Apted, died in 2014 at age 47 of colon most cancers.

Did returning to Seven Up each seven years make him mirror on his personal life? “Not as a lot as perhaps it ought to,” he mentioned in his RadioTimes interview.

“Generally I do muse on the place I used to be at 28 or 35 or no matter. However extra usually I mirror on the way it has coloured my entire profession. I by no means tire of speaking about it, and I bond with folks over it.”

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