Michael Apted

Michael Apted is a prolific British film director known for his ‘Up’ documentary series, as well for films like ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter,’ ‘Gorillas in the Mist,’ and ‘The World Is Not Enough.’


Michael Apted was born on February 10, 1941 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England. He directed the English soap opera Coronation Street at age 22. In 1963, he was a researcher on 7 Up, a documentary film that interviewed seven-year-old Londoners about their aspirations. Apted went on to direct a series of documentaries which followed the subjects every seven years. He's also directed more than 70 films including Coal Miner's Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist and The World Is Not Enough, among many others.


Director Michael Apted was born on February 10, 1941 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England. After studying law at Cambridge University, he promptly turned his attention to film, directing the popular English soap opera Coronation Street by the age of 22.

In 1963, Apted was a researcher on 7 Up, a television documentary directed by Paul Almond that interviewed 14 seven-year-olds, drawn from every social class in London, about their lives, innermost thoughts and aspirations. On his own, Apted followed-up with the 7 Up subjects every seven years, to create 7 Plus 7 (1970), 21 Up (1977), 28 Up (1984), 35 Up (1991), 42 Up (1998), 49 Up (2005) and 56 Up (2012).

Film Projects

Though his style holds true to his documentarian roots, Apted has also earned acclaim for his dramatic features. Early films included Triple Echo (1973) and Stardust (1975); more mainstream fare followed in the 1980s with two bios of note, Coal Miner's Daughter (1980) about country singer Loretta Lynn, played by Sissy Spacek who took home the Oscar for the role, and the Academy Award-nominated film about conservationist Dian Fossey, Gorillas In The Mist (1988), starring Sigourney Weaver. He then told the story of Native American activist Leonard Peltier in 1992's Thunderheart. His 1994 feature Nell starred Jodie Foster as a childlike forest dweller forced into society, and his thrillers Extreme Measures (1996) and The World Is Not Enough (1999) pushed his work even further into the mainstream.

In 2001, the tireless director received winning reviews for the wartime thriller Enigma followed by the Jennifer Lopez revenge flick Enough in 2002. Other films he directed include: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010), Chasing Mavericks (2012) and Unlocked (2016).

Television Projects

Apted has won several British Academy Awards for his work in television, which started in the 1960s to present day. Most recently, he's directed episodes for Rome (2006), Masters of Sex (2013), and Reckless (2014). 

Personal Life

Apted and his first wife, Jo, have two sons, Paul and Jim. Paul died from colon cancer in 2014. With his second wife, screenwriter Dana Stevens, Apted has a son, John. The director became a father for the fourth time, this time to a daughter Lily Mellis, in 2007, with his then-girlfriend Tania Mellis. 

In January 2014, Apted married his third wife, Paige Simpson. 

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