Apted treks to Disney for 3rd 'Narnia'

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Michael Apted is set to direct Walt Disney Pictures/ Walden Media's "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader."

It is the third installment in the planned series of seven films, which includes the 2005 hit "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and the upcoming 2008 release of "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian." "Dawn Treader," in preproduction, will begin filming in January and it is set for a May 1, 2009, release date.

Mark Johnson returns as producer. Andrew Adamson, who directed the first two films, will continue his involvement by also serving as a producer on the project.

Among the returning cast members are Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes.

Apted's credits include "Amazing Grace" for Walden Media's sister company Bristol Bay Prods.

"I got to know him very well through that experience," Walden Media CEO Cary Granat said, adding that it was during post on that film that they began the "Narnia" discussion. "Michael grew up as a fan of 'Narnia' … and he has a real connection to the franchise. He blew everyone away with his passion and vision."

Added Oren Aviv, president of production at Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures: "We're thrilled that (Apted) will be directing 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' and feel that he brings his own unique sensibilities, filmmaking experience and vision to the project. This latest Narnia adventure will take people to an entirely different side of Narnia that no one has ever seen before, and is filled with lots of action, adventure, magic and wonder. We think moviegoers are going to be thrilled with this all-new installment."

Granat said: "This film is a very different (from the first two in the series) in that it is very much a journey story, with adventures along the way."

Apted's credits include "Coal Miner's Daughter," "The World Is Not Enough," "Gorky Park," "Gorillas in the Mist," the "Up" documentary series and the first three episodes of the HBO drama "Rome."

He is represented by CAA and Alan Hergott, as well as Anthony Jones of Peters Fraser & Dunlop in London.
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