HBO tapping talent from Apted to Zabel

'Marriage,' 'Hearts' on cabler's slate

HBO has secured Michael Apted (“Enough”) to helm its upcoming Steven Bochco project “Marriage,” while scribe-TV Academy chairman Bryce Zabel has landed a script at the pay cabler.

Apted will direct the first episode of “Marriage,” which will debut sometime in 2004. HBO had previously given a 13-episode order to the project, to be penned and exec produced by Bochco and Alison Cross (“Philly”).

“Marriage” revolves around a couple still adjusting to their lives together five years after getting married.

Apted, still best known for his “7 Up” documentary and its sequels, has also directed features including “The World Is Not Enough” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” On television, he directed the HBO pics “Always Outnumbered” and “Strapped.” He’s repped by CAA.

As for Zabel, the pay channel liked what it saw in a bible the scribe created last year for the potential series “Hearts and Minds” (Daily Variety, Oct. 8). He will now write a script based on that treatment, which revolves around the world of military intelligence and the twin tasks of fighting terrorism and building nations.

Zabel, who’s repped by APA and Flutie Entertainment, said he originally set the project in Afghanistan, but may now shift it to Iraq.

“Hearts and Minds” centers on the chief of staff of a joint task force, a military reservist who was working at an advertising agency when 9/11 hit. The character rejoins the military and is eventually assigned to find a Mullah Omar-like character.

“To try to capture the complexity of the war on terrorism in a dramatic way for HBO presents the kind of cutting-edge writing challenge which could connect with an audience,” Zabel said.

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