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Marilyn Dobrin

Marilyn Dobrin

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Once dubbed by PREMIERE magazine as an unsung "genius" based on his unproduced screenplay "Edward Ford" (written at age 19), Lem Dobbs has since gone on to craft a handful of interesting scripts either alone or in collaboration. The son of expatriate artist R B Kitaj, Dobbs was born and raised in England but decided at a young age that he wanted a career in movies. Settling in Los Angeles at age 18, he penned several scripts and became increasingly angry over what he came to perceive as the industry's treatment of writers. While he easily found he could land lucrative jobs working on screenplays, few examples of his work actually went into production. In fact, it was almost a decade before he saw one of his screenplays, for the thriller "Hider in the House," produced. The 1989 film, however, was released direct-to-video and was later relegated to airings on the USA Network in the early 1990s. He was then hired to rework a comedy about a cop and an actor and although he shared screen credit for the story and screenplay, Dobbs had been replaced on the project, in his words because the producers felt "I was burnt out. I had gone as far as I could go." His fortunes shifted somewhat when he teamed with...

Once dubbed by PREMIERE magazine as an unsung "genius" based on his unproduced screenplay "Edward Ford" (written at age 19), Lem Dobbs has since gone on to craft a handful of interesting scripts either alone or in collaboration. The son of expatriate artist R B Kitaj, Dobbs was born and raised in England but decided at a young age that he wanted a career in movies. Settling in Los Angeles at age 18, he penned several scripts and became increasingly angry over what he came to perceive as the industry's treatment of writers. While he easily found he could land lucrative jobs working on screenplays, few examples of his work actually went into production. In fact, it was almost a decade before he saw one of his screenplays, for the thriller "Hider in the House," produced. The 1989 film, however, was released direct-to-video and was later relegated to airings on the USA Network in the early 1990s. He was then hired to rework a comedy about a cop and an actor and although he shared screen credit for the story and screenplay, Dobbs had been replaced on the project, in his words because the producers felt "I was burnt out. I had gone as far as I could go." His fortunes shifted somewhat when he teamed with Steven Soderbergh on the surreal "Kafka" (1991). Receiving solo credit for the screenplay (which reportedly had been written nearly a decade earlier), Dobbs also had shoulder the burden of the mixed reviews. Perhaps some of the confusion arose because many expected a biography of the author and instead found a visually striking black-and-white thriller in which Kafka (played by Jeremy Irons) was the leading character.

While Dobbs was announced in the trade papers as penning various projects (e.g., "Prague" to feature Danny De Vito, and a remake of "The Day the Earth Caught Fire"), it would be some seven years before his credit appeared onscreen again as one of three writers on the sci-fi flick "Dark City" (1998), a Kafka-esque thriller about a man accused of a crime he cannot remember. Again, the final result divided critics, with some dismissing the effort as concentrating more on style than substance while others praising the complex plot and look of the film as an unique motion picture experience. (Indeed, Roger Ebert listed "Dark City" as his choice for the year's best film.) True to form, Dobbs reteaming with Soderbergh, "The Limey" (1999), a character study of a British ex-con who travels to the USA to seek out the truth about his daughter's murder, provoked a mixed critical reaction at its premiere in Cannes. Undaunted, the writer continues to accept assignments to rewrite or collaborate on projects, while still harboring the hope to one-day direct his dream project, "Edward Ford," the three-decade tale of a cowboy actor, which is frequently touted as one of the best unproduced screenplays floating around Hollywood. Whether he ever gets to achieve that goal remains to be seen.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
4.
 Meet the Parents (2000)
6.
 Layin' Low (1996) Lorraine
7.
 Cadillac Man (1990) Porsche Buyer'S Wife
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