By Joshua Rich
Updated June 19, 2007 at 12:00 PM EDT
Vera Anderson/

Ah, the Hollywood press release gods have smiled upon us this sunny afternoon, PopWatchers. As you may have heard, there were not one but two big bits of news on the directing front. First, we learned that the helmer of the next James Bond flick (tentatively titled Bond 22 and due out Nov. 7, 2008) will be Forster, Marc Forster. Then, along came word that the great Michael Apted (himself a 007 veteran, by chance) will take the reins of the third Narnia movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (due out May 1, 2009). Yay!

Really, yay. I couldn’t be happier about these two choices — true artists, both. Totally psyched.

I’ve loved almost all of Forster’s movies, like Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland, and Stranger Than Fiction. He’s shown great range and a terrific ability to make actors shine and make the characters they play feel real. What’s more, I mean, look at that photo: Dude totally looks like a Bond villain! (Which one, though? Maybe Robert Carlyle in The World Is Not Enough? Or Telly Savalas in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service?) Anyway, the 007 producers’ choice to go with the series’ first director who hails from outside the British Commonwealth (Forster is Swiss) is yet another sign that they’ve finally learned how mixing things up a bit, you know, breaking the mold, or whatever, works. It’s one of the reasons why Casino Royale earned almost $600 million worldwide and scored rave reviews (and, yes, the two keys to that film’s success, Daniel Craig and screenwriter Paul Haggis, will be back). Somewhere Ian Fleming is taking that long cigarette holder thing out of his mouth and smiling.

As for Apted, well, he’s one of Hollywood’s great workhorses, an underrated director who churns out way-above-par product each time (see: Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist, Thunderheart, the aforementioned The World Is Not Enough, and, of course, the terrific Up documentary series). Any franchise would be well-served by this bloke.

Of course, that’s my take. What say you, dear watchers of pop? Do you agree that these are fine picks, or were you hoping for someone else? And what else would you like to see from the movies they’re about to make? Hey, don’t keep your thoughts top secret and for your eyes only.

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