One of the most versatile filmmakers around, Michael Apted is no stranger to picking up franchises that were begun by other people. Most respected is his continued following of up of 14 individuals, who have been presented every seven years in what are collectively known as the _ Up documentaries (49 Up was the most recent). He took that project -- which was not originally intended as a lifelong series -- over from Paul Almond, director of Seven Up!, for which Apted served as a researcher. A few years ago, he took on the 007 franchise for a single shot effort, The World is Not Enough. Now a little bird has told Harry Knowles at Aint it Cool News that Apted will be taking over the Chronicles of Narnia series.

I haven't seen the first of the Narnia movies, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and I wasn't planning on it, but now I'm gaining some interest. Franchises are always more appealing to me when they switch up directors midstream. It worked great for the Harry Potter movies, which completely raised their cred by bringing in Alfonso Cuarón for the third installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, following Chris Columbus' welcome departure after the first two. Apted may not be as great a filmmaker as Cuarón -- I lost interest in his fiction filmmaking after the J. Lo vehicle Enough (not to be confused with his James Bond effort) -- but he should bring some freshness to the Narnia movies. If the little bird is correct, he will take on the third movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Trader, which also currently is rumored to have Neil Burger attached. One or the other will replace Andrew Adamson, who, like Columbus, has been the series' director for the first two installments -- he is currently directing the second, Prince Caspian.