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    James Bond, Narnia Under New Management

    He'll always take orders from M, but James Bond's next mission is going to be crafted by a 007 rookie.

    Finding Neverland director Marc Forster has been tapped to helm the next installment of the 45-year-old Bond franchise, what will be the 22nd film featuring the oh-so-suave secret agent.

    The German filmmaker recently wrapped the big-screen adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's bestseller The Kite Runner. Before that, he tried his hand at comedy with Stranger Than Fiction; was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work on the fantastical Peter Pan-inspired drama Finding Neverland, which also scored Johnny Depp his second Oscar nod; and directed Halle Berry to an Oscar win for Monster's Ball.

    "I have always been drawn to different kinds of stories and I have also always been a Bond fan, so it is very exciting to take on this challenge," Forster said. "The new direction that the Bond character has taken offers a host of new possibilities." He and Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby scribe Paul Haggis are expected to start tackling a first draft that was written by Neil Purvis and Robert Wade.

    Daniel Craig, the first blonde Bond, will be back for a second go-round after turning in a much-appreciated performance in Casino Royale that actually made his dapper daredevil of a character seem a little rough around the edges—but in a good way.

    And despite being inured to Pierce Brosnan's know-it-all smirk, audiences seemed to dig a Bond who pointedly replied, "Do I look like I give a damn?" when a bartender asked the eternal question, "Shaken or stirred?"

    In turn, Casino Royale, based on the first novel in Ian Fleming's series revolving around the seemingly immortal MI-6 agent, grossed more than $594 million worldwide.

    The as-yet untitled chapter, being referred to by studio heads as Bond 22 for now, is slated to start shooting in London in December, with a release date of Nov. 7, 2008.

    Also changing hands is the burgeoning Chronicles of Narnia series, which is actually now heading under the tutelage of a former Bond movie director.

    The World Is Not Enough director Michael Apted will be taking the reins from Andrew Adamson, who oversaw The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the upcoming Prince Caspian (all based on the novels by C.S. Lewis), and set sail with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, due out in 2009.

    "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," Oren Aviv, president of production for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, said about the British filmmaker, who's also currently president of the Directors Guild of America.

    "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," Aviv continued. "We think moviegoers are going to be thrilled with this all-new installment."

    Prince Caspian makes its debut first, however, on May 16, 2008, long before The Voyage of the Dawn Treader hits theaters May 1, 2009.

    Apted most recently worked with Disney on last year's Amazing Grace, about Britain's abolitionist movement in the 19th century.

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