Rupert Sanders to Direct Adaptation of 'The Kill List' Thriller Novel
by Ethan Anderton
June 20, 2013
Following a tabloid debacle, we already know that director Rupert Sanders will not be behind the camera for the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel starring Kristen Stewart in development at Universal. The director was on the shortlist to take on Pirates of the Caribbean 5 until the job ended up in someone else's hands, but now Deadline has word that Sanders is attached to a new project called The Kill List. Not to be confused with Ben Wheatley's crime thriller Kill List, this new project is an adaptation of author Frederick Forsyth's espionage thriller novel of the same name, which is slated to hit shelves in August. More below!
The story is described as "an intricate chess game between a brilliant Marine, an Israeli agent, a teenage hacker and a mysterious psychopathic cleric," but here's the official synopsis for a better idea of the tale:
In Virginia, there is an agency bearing the bland name of Technical Operations Support Activity, or TOSA. Its one mission is to track, find, and kill those so dangerous to the United States that they are on a short document known as the Kill List. TOSA actually exists. So does the Kill List.
Added to it is a new name: a terrorist of frightening effectiveness called the Preacher, who radicalizes young Muslims abroad to carry out assassinations. Unfortunately for him, one of the kills is a retired Marine general, whose son is TOSA’s top hunter of men.
He has spent the last six years at his job. He knows nothing about his target’s name, face, or location. He realizes his search will take him to places where few could survive. But the Preacher has made it personal now. The hunt is on.
Sanders said Forsyth's new novel reminded him of something Hemingway wrote, "There is no hunting like the hunting of men, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.” The director elaborated:
"It is an incredible privilege to work from Forsyth’s new novel The Kill List. It is a thrilling read and frighteningly accurate. It immerses us in the shadowy worlds of terrorists, spies, private contractors, US and UK special forces. It spans an epic, international world and delves deep into the psychology of its two main characters – ‘the hunter’ – a US Special Forces Tracker and ‘the hunted’ an extreme fundamentalist terrorist. Forsyth’s depth of research and authenticity creates a vivid and frightening story – a nightmare scenario that is all too possible. He predicted new strains of civilian terrorism long before the horrible murder in Woolwich and draws out conclusions to where such actions spread like a virus.”
Forsyth's works have hit the big screen before with older films like Odessa File and The Dogs of War, but it's been awhile since The Jackal hit the big screen in 1997. This certainly sounds like a timely story given the controversy surrounding certain military tactics by the United States government, and Forsyth has a built in fanbase that will turn out for the adaptation. But it's still early, and Sanders is only attached, so he could fall away before the project moves forward. We'll keep you posted as this project develops. Interested?