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Veteran director Michael Apted on
his latest film, Unlocked

By Iain Blair

Acclaimed British director Michael Apted is that rarity in today’s cinema — a versatile filmmaker who is comfortable in any genre and equally at home making big-budget tent poles or micro-budget documentaries.

His movies range from Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning dramas (Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist) to films dealing with medical ethics (Extreme Measures), corporate whistleblowers (Class Action) and matters of faith (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader). He has also directed political thrillers (Gorky Park), spy thrillers (Enigma), comedies (Continental Divide), music documentaries (Sting’s Bring on the Night) and a blockbuster Bond movie (The World Is Not Enough).

Apted even made a feature film and a documentary about the same event (Thunderheart and Incident at Oglala). He has also directed many TV projects, including Ray Donovan, Rome and Masters of Sex. That is one diverse resume.

In fact, the only constant in an eclectic career that stretches back to the 1960s is the “Up Series,” which he first worked on as a researcher back in 1964, and which he returns to every seven years like clockwork (56 Up came out in 2012).

His latest film, Unlocked, is a pulpy, fast-moving spy thriller which, like many of Apted’s films, stars a woman in the lead role — Noomi Rapace plays a CIA agent undercover in London and on a mission to save the city from biological terrorism. She’s joined by an all-star cast, including Michael Douglas as her handler, Orlando Bloom as her unlikely helper, John Malkovich as the CIA spy chief at Langley and Toni Collette as his MI5 counterpart.

I recently met with Apted to talk about his process on this film along with his long career and what’s next for him.

You’ve made a lot of thrillers. What’s the secret to a good one?
On a trivial level, you always need a good pace. Then you look for lots of twists and turns and a script that isn’t quite what it appears to be. This allows you to keep the audience unsettled and never comfortable. The element of surprise is key.

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Evoking the beauty and power
of Dunkirk with 65mm
By Adrian Pennington

Christopher Nolan made this entire film on 65mm negative. Approximately 75% of the film was captured on 65mm/15-perf IMAX and the rest on 65mm/5-perf on Panavision cameras.

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Review: Blackmagic’s Fusion 9
By David Cox

This compositing software offers a raft of new updates in Version 9. They can be categorized into two areas: features created in response to user requests and a set of tools for VR.

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Emmy Awards: American Horror Story: Roanoke
By Jennifer Walden

Chaos Group buys Render Legion and Corona Renderer

DP David Tattersall:
Netflix’s Death Note

My Passion Project:
We Call Her Yolanda

By Anthony Bari Jr.

Caringo offers 100TB of free scale-out storage for M&E

Charlieuniformtango adds director Elliot Dillman

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