As each year comes to a close, producer Franklin Leonard (late of Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment as well as Universal) publishes The Black List, a compilation of the best unproduced screenplays bouncing around the Hollywood development system. The list is voted on by hundreds of agents, producers and executives (290 this year), each of whom nominates ten of their favorite scripts. Previous Black List success stories include Slumdog Millionaire, (500) Days Of Summer, Juno, and Looper.
Deadline Hollywood has the complete list, but below I've listed all the ones that really jumped out at me, either due to an interesting premise or because it's got some serious talent attached. For instance, Transcendence will be long-time Christopher Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister's directorial debut with Johnny Depp signed on to play the lead, and Come And Find Me is written by Zack Whedon. On the other hand, Man Of Tomorrow sounds like something I HAVE TO READ. Plus, I'm always a sucker for a good time travel story, so I copied pretty much all of those.
They're listed in descending order of rank, with Draft Day in the top spot with 65 votes. (The lowest ranked scripts received six votes.) Either way, keep in mind that inclusion on The Black List is hardly a guarantee of success. Most of these scripts will never see the light of day.
Rajiv Joseph, Scott Rothman On the day of the NFL Draft, Bills General Manager Sonny Weaver has the opportunity to save football in Buffalo when he trades for the number one pick. He must quickly decide what he’s willing to sacrifice in pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred.
SEUSS Eyal Podell, Jonathan Stewart As a young man, Ted Geisel meets his future wife Helen, who encourages his fanciful drawings, and in the 1950s when Ted is struggling professionally, Helen helps inspire the children’s book that will become his first big hit, “The Cat in the Hat.”
RODHAM Young Il Kim During the height of the Watergate scandal, rising star Hillary Rodham is the youngest lawyer chosen for the House Judiciary Committee to Impeach Nixon, but she soon finds herself forced to choose between a destined path to the White House and her unresolved feelings for Bill Clinton, her former boyfriend who now teaches law in
WUNDERKIND Patrick Aison A Mossad employed father and his CIA agent son team up to hunt an escaped Nazi.
IF THEY MOVE… KILL ‘EM! Kel Symons After losing his luster and respect in
Hollywood, famed director Sam Peckinpah hopes to direct his next great film with financial backing from Colombian drug lords and brings along a novice screenwriter to write the film in Colombia.
THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA Mark Hogan During WWII, a a fifteen year old German boy is sent to
Americato spy for the Fatherland by joining a politically-connected family as an English war orphan. Tension mounts when the boy gets the chance to assassinate President Roosevelt..
MAN OF TOMORROW Jeremy Slater In an alternate 1940s reality, the US Government makes a deal with an indestructible gangster to kill Hilter in exchange for the city of Chicago, which he will build into his own utopia. Unfortunately his model city never comes to fruition and both he and his Bureau liaison get much of the slack for destroying one of
America’s greatest cities and now the government wants him dead.
HEY, STELLA! Tom Shephard The story of how Marlon Brando won the role of Stanley Kowalski in Elia Kazan’s broadway play A Streetcar Named Desire.
THE BROKEN John Glosser In 1967
Oklahoma, a war vet/farmer investigates the suspicious death of his estranged son in the next county. When he discovers his son’s brutal murder was a covered-up gay bashing, he goes on a one-man mission to take down the corrupt sheriff responsible.
MCCARTHY Justin Kremer It is 1951. Junior Senator Joe McCarthy feels lost. He’s anonymous, just another suit on Capitol Hill. He craves attention and celebrity. He’s desperate to be noticed, to be adored. Inspired by the response of the American public to the House of Un-American Activities Committee, McCarthy decides that communism will be his defining issue. What follows is nearly unthinkable — national fame, a shocking conspiracy, a sitting President afraid to oppose him, and a torrid journey of self destruction and paranoia.
WHO FRAMED TOMMY CALLAHAN? Harry Kellerman An elementary school student searches for the truth behind the candy bar ring conspiracy that got his brother expelled.
OUR NAME IS ADAM T.S. Nowlin An astronaut travels back in time to enlist the help of his younger self.
THE PORTLAND CONDITION Dan Cohn, Jeremy Miller Set against the backdrop of rainy Portland, Oregon, a young man finds himself falling in love for the first time – only to receive a letter from his future self, warning him of impending heartbreak.
GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR TOM Jason Micallef After nine years, a NASA communications expert reconnects with the astronaut she believed to be dead and helps rescue him from space.
HIBERNATION Will Frank,
GenevaRobertson-Dworet A wrongly convicted inmate volunteers for a hibernation experiment in exchange for one day of parole every five years, which he uses to prove his innocence and search for his missing daughter across an increasingly futuristic landscape.
THE HOOVERVILLE DEAD Brantley Aufill Set in
St. Louisin the 1920s, washed up baseball player Will Cosgrove is a private eye with his older brother Ross. When Ross goes missing, Will stumbles upon a deep secret that the disease taking over the town is not quite what it seems and a mob boss turned Governor will do anything to keep the town’s secret from being revealed.
TRANSCENDENCE Jack Paglen An epic love story set in a time where a dying scientist is able to upload his consciousness into the internet and, facing its global implications, must fight against the forces who are actively working against the existence of a singularity.
ALMANAC Jason Pagan, Andrew Stark A group of high school kids discover how to time travel, but fail to recognize the potential consequences.
COME AND FIND ME Zack Whedon When his girlfriend goes missing, David must track down her whereabouts after he realizes she’s not who she was pretending to be.
KING OF HEISTS Will Staples Based on the book King of Heists: The Sensational Bank Robbery of 1878 That Shocked America, written by J. North Conway. An unassuming man in the elite
New Yorksociety assembles a crew that pulls off the largest bank heist in American history in 1878.
THE LIGHTHOUSE Eric Kirsten William Van Alen’s building of the Chrysler building and the competition to be the first to complete the world’s tallest building.
TITANS OF PARK ROW Mitch Akselrad Young William Randolph Hearst goes to war against an aging Joseph Pulitzer as each tries to monopolize coverage of a mysterious homicide capturing New York’s imagination, birthing the modern concept of sensationalist media coverage.