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‘The Limey’ and ‘Haywire’ Scribe Lem Dobbs Marks ‘The Kill List’

Written by on October 1, 2013 

Small those his list of credits may be, Lem Dobbs makes the efforts count. Having scripted two of Steven Soderbergh‘s most entertaining films — The Limey (Bitchuation’s best movie, period?) and last year’s Haywire — and that same director’s criminally forgotten Kafka, co-writing Alex Proyas‘ trippy sci-fi tale Dark City, and the old-fashioned thrills of Robert Redford‘s The Company You Keep, the talent is displayed clearly — if not as often as we’d necessarily prefer. It’s not merely the amount of years between these titles — though, certainly, that does count for something — but the qualitative gap they have an unfortunate habit of establishing. How am I supposed to be excited about another dad-avenges-daughter movie in the wake of The Limey, and why can’t the writer of that make ten more movies of its particular shape and size?

Leave it to him, then, to get us interested in a film from the director of Snow White and the Huntsman. Following an announcement that Rupert Sanders‘ second feature would, possibly, be an adaptation of Frederick Forsyth‘s recent novel, The Kill List, The L.A. Times inform us Dobbs will take scripting duties on the picture, which sees him go back to spy territory covered in Haywire. Here’s how Amazon describe the title:

“A retired marine general is gunned down by an unknown assassin—collateral damage, apparently, in an attack on a U.S. senator. The general’s son, code-named the Tracker, is part of a top-secret government agency responsible for locating, and eliminating (without benefit of trial), people on the so-called ‘kill list’ of enemies of the U.S. The Tracker knows almost nothing about the assassin, not even his name, but he is determined to find him, no matter the cost.”

Dobbs‘ history of structurally efficient, narratively propulsive work should prove an especially fine match for the conspiracy-laden doings of Forsyth‘s text — and while Sanders has yet to prove any capability in holding up his end of the deal, yours truly, expecting a fine script out of all this, is willing to give the man a second chance. No word on when production commences — their helmer has developed a slight habit of signing for multiple projects before actually making another — but with Counselor producers Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz, and Nick Wechsler also on tap, there’s reason to expect this one crosses the finish line.

As a brief follow-up in screenwriting news, Deadline report that Universal’s inexplicable, Schwarzenegger-led sequel, The Legend of Conan, may actually be happening: after all, it’s secured scribe Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center, the American Sleepless Night remake), who producer Chris Morgan deems capable of “[juggling] masculine grittiness with extreme emotional depth.” The grittiness and depth comes from a scenario wherein Conan, nearing the end of his life, sits atop his throne while swinging fists and swords in service of spilled blood, facing enemies both internal and external. With Schwarzenegger shooting Terminator 5 at the start of next year — and, possibly, reuniting with an old friend later in 2014 — production of the director-less Conan remains unclear, but they’ll try to make this happen whether we want it or not.

Does Lem Dobbs’ input create personal interest for The Kill List?

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