Cinematical recently spoke with director Michael Apted, who began his involvement with the series as a young researcher on 7 Up and now keeps the project alive. Although he’s too mannered and too British to admit it, Apted seems to have internalized what many critics have already noted: that 7 Up may be the most important documentary project of all time.
So now that you’re off the hook for another seven years, what’s on your plate for the near future? What do you have coming up?
Michael Apted: I’ve got a movie coming out in February about the anti-slave trade movement. That’s a feature film called Amazing Grace. I just delivered the official DVD of the World Cup. I’ve got another documentary about football that’s nearly done. I’ve just done a TV episode of my wife’s show, What about Brian? Also, I’ve just finished the sequel to Married in America. I don’t know when that’s coming out — I think in February of this coming year.
Very few directors walk that line between documentary films and major studio features like you do. Do you see yourself as more of one than the other?
Michael Apted: I like to spread it evenly, but I would say that I think I have the spirit of a documentarian. Even when I do my movies, I tend to approach them in a documentary way. You know, the whole idea that truth is stranger than fiction, and even when I’ve done something as fantastical as a James Bond, I was interested in seeing what the reality was. Mine was about the Caspian Sea, getting gas out of the Caspian Sea, so I made them all go down there and have a look at it, and we got some pretty startling images out of it.