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007 up for Apted

Helmer in negotiations to direct 'Bond 19'

Director Michael Apted is in negotiations to take the helm of United Artists’ next James Bond film, tentatively titled “Bond 19.”

Pic, which is produced by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, is the followup to “Tomorrow Never Dies” and will be UA’s 19th in its highly valuable series. U.K.-based screenwriting team Neal Purvis and Robert Wade penned the screenplay.

Pic is slated to begin production in January, with Pierce Brosnan taking on the role of 007 for the third time, following “GoldenEye” and “Tomorrow Never Dies.”

MGM/UA previously staked its claim to Nov. 19, 1999 as the release date of “Bond 19.”

Mean woman blues

Though UA and the film’s producers are keeping the film’s storyline tightly under wraps, it’s understood that James Bond’s adversary in this installment may be a woman who has a personal grudge against the suave secret agent.

Numerically speaking, “Bond 19” fits in well with some of Apted’s previous credits “14 Up,” 21 Up,” “28 Up,” “35 Up” and the recently completed “42 Up,” the latest in the long-running documentary series about a group of socio-economically diverse British schoolchildren.

Apted’s previous feature credits include “Extreme Measures,” “Nell,” “Thunderheart,” “Gorillas in the Mist,” “Gorky Park” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

The Brit director is finishing work on his sequel to “Inspirations,” his documentary about the creative process told through the stories of seven celebrated artists. The docu shines a light on the scientific process.

Wedding, too

As his CAA reps negotiate the deal for “Bond 19,” Apted is prepping his wedding to his longtime mate, screenwriter Dana Stevens (“Blink,” “City of Angels”). The wedding is slated to take place this week in Los Angeles.

“Bond” will be Apted’s next feature, which he may follow with “Enigma,” a WWII era pic, scripted by Tom Stoppard and to be produced by Mick Jagger’s Jagged Films and Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video.

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