CS Video: Director Michael Apted on 56 Up

Director Michael Apted has made his name through a prolific career that’s included James Bond and Narnia films as well as a variety of docs and dramas. What’s probably the benchmark for his lengthy career is what’s been called the “Up Series,” a series of documentaries that began on Granada Television in 1964 with Apted interviewing a group of seven year olds about their lives and futures. Every seven years, Apted revisited the individuals, or at least those who wished to continue being involved with the series, which brings us to the 8th film in the series, 56 Up, where all of Apted’s subjects have moved beyond mid-life crises and are fully on the road to senior citizenship, many of them with kids and even grandkids.

For those who have watched the series since its inception or came on board anytime along the way, Apted’s subjects have become a part of our cinematic family and we’ve grown to care about them and hope that things will get better from one movie to the next.

It’s been a few years since ComingSoon.net has spoken with Apted, while he was still in his 60s. Now 71 and having directed movies and television and the subjects of the “Up Series” for nearly 50 years, Apted seems to be showing signs of slowing down at least in terms of his directing output, although he remains committed to doing this series for as long as he can.

In the video interview below, we spoke with the filmmaker about:

* Whether he goes into each of the movies in the series with some sort of gameplan
* How he feels about people seeing the other movies in the series before watching “56 Up” and how editing down previous material for new interviews has been hard
* How the subjects are more reflective on being in the series now
* How he keeps in touch with them over the years
* The return of Peter to the series for the first time since “26 Up”
* How the direction of the series has changed since 1964, not being so much about politics and the class system
* How the economic crash plays into the movie

And much more!

56 Up opens in New York City on Friday, January 4, at the IFC Center and in Los Angeles at the Landmark Nuart on January 18, in Hartford and San Diego on January 25 and then in other cities over the course of February. You can read our earlier thoughts on the film here.

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