Film execs vote on favourite scripts
The Black List is a list of scripts from one hundred and fifty film executives and their assistants in Hollywood. Really it means little, for this voting is how much these people liked the scripts when they read them, not whether the film is a viable concern, a good business proposition, a profit returner, and so on.
However there are some interesting moments in the list, and worth looking at.
Recount, for example, is top of the list, and that's the inside story of the 2000 Presidential campaign that was so obviously manipulated to ensure that Bush won. That is the favourite script and the one that's being made right now as a television film.
With it being top of the list I would have thought it would have been a fill blown film, but no it's a television production but it's going to star some really big names such as Kevin Spacey, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, George Bush, Al Gore, and so on.
You can see the full list over at IESB who have plot outlines and everything, but I'm going to keep going just picking out some talking points.
In second place is another political thriller called Farragut North, about a Communications Director for a Politician who his hit by the backstabbing and trickery associated with a Presidential campaign. That had forty three votes, just one short of Recount.
Next up is Passengers which is about a passenger prematurely thawed out from cryogenic sleep during a long space voyage with everyone else remaining on board - this reminds me of the latest Richard Morgan novel Black Man.
Then there's another political thriller, Infiltrator is about the British intelligence campaign to undermine the Irish Republican Army (IRA) by planting spies in the organisation and rising them to the top. This helped the British intelligence services put a stop to many terrorist attacks.
Selma will tell the story of Martin Luther King Jr.'s campaign to persuade President Lyndon Johnson to change the voting rights as well as the resulting march from Selma to Montgomery.
Curveball tells the story of an Iraqi informant called Curveball on which those in charge can conveniently blame the biological weapons justification of war on. The informant is allegedly responsible for giving the "flawed" information to the intelligence community.
Dubai is a thriller which I think is being made and tells the story of a young economist who is used by Iranian operatives as part of a plot to destroy the U.S. economy. He is forced to go on the run and try and prove his innocence after it is revealed he was behind the attack.
Here's an interesting idea, Source Code is the story of an experimental governmental project which is used in order to try and find the source of a terrorist attack, an attack that has already happened. A soldier is at the centre of it and he finds himself reliving a series of events that took place on the train prior to the explosion. Now that does sound like it could be interesting, revealing different information each time and piecing together the plot? Could be good.
Union Station is based on the graphic novel by Ande Parks where a federal agent is trying to solve the 1933 Union Station massacre while fighting the criminal underworld and a young J. Edgar Hoover who is trying to use the case for his own political gains.
Lion Man of Tuscany is the story of Gino Bartali, a Tour de France winner who helped save the lives of over eight hundred Jewish people during World War II by smuggling them out of Italy.
Never Let Me Go is about a group of boarding school students in an isolated school in the English countryside who realise that they are clones bred for the purpose of organ donation. No matter how human they really are, it seems the are to be killed for others.
There's an untitled script that is going to tell the story of Bill Carter who documents the seige of Sarajevo while he delivers food to Muslims in Bosnia, and how he enlists the rock band U2 to publicise the cause and interview him live during their European concerts. I'm not sure what to think of that idea, whether it's going to turn into promotion or really tell the story of what went on in Bosnia.
There are a couple of holocaust stories coming. The Book of Eli is about a man fighting his way across postapocalyptic America to find a sacred book which could save humanity. Shelter is a smaller tale with survivors of a nuclear attack stuck in a bomb shelter who begin to turn on each other.
Michael Mann is going to be bringing us a film about the practice of the old Hollywood studios of keeping staff on their books who clean up and hide possible scandals with their stars.
Now here's another bizarre musical tale. Get Back will see two Beatles fans find a time machine (how convenient) and head back in time to stop Yoko Ono and John Lennon meeting as they blame her for the failure of the Beatles.
Five votes are all that World War Z and Valkyrie get on the list, and surprisingly far down. World War Z is an excellent book by Max Brooks that interviews survivors of a World War against a rising zombie population.
Zombieland is another zombie film that focuses on America and a couple who survive a country wide infestation. Together they find purpose in fighting the zombies.
Is the Brothers in Arms (Hill 427) videogame coming to the big screen? Might seem that way as this script appears with the story of an American rescue mission along the same lines of Saving Private Ryan which sees soldiers head sixty miles behind enemy lines to free General Patton's son in law from a prisoner of war camp.
Tehran will tell the story of an American professor who is hired by the federal government to observe the events in the city during 1978 prior to the coup.
The Wedding Party carries a rather unusual plot idea, there's a Wedding Party during the war in Afghanistan and the party is told from the perspective of an English officer, a Russian and an American, all of whom are the same person...now that is strange.
Arcadia Disinherited will look to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the story of three brothers who are fighting for survival in a refugee camp after one of them commits crime, albeit accidentally.
Alfred Hitchcock is going to feature in another film in Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, which does what it says on the tin.
Deep Throat will chronicle the life of the man who was recently revealed as the informant who gave out all the information on the Watergate scandal to the reporters.
Enron is another real life story which will tell the story of the corruption behind the scandal that bankrupt the company in named some big names during 2001.
Let it Fall will look at the L.A. riots of 1992 after a jury acquitted four police officers of beating Rodney King.
No Man's Land sounds like a less friendly Alien Nation. Fifty years after an alien race takes over Earth, a human detective investigating a rape and murder case comes across their true intentions.
Of Every Wickedness tells the story of the first American recorded serial killings, some three years before Jack the Ripper was lose in London. The killings happened in Austin, Texas.
Get this story, Unique sounds just like Stephen King's The Talisman as it tells the story of parallel worlds where twins exist on both Earth's. However there are a few unique people who only exist in one world and can swap back and forth. The hero of the piece is such a man but he is soon hunted by others for his very ability.
Then there's Somebody to Love, the script of Freddie Mercury's life, the great performer and lead singer of Queen.
There are some surprises on the list down in the two vote area, and this is why I say that this list isn't really an indication of anything. Films are being made with bigger cast and budget that are in the two vote area than anywhere else, with the exception of the highest voted script, showing that a well liked script is not always the bankable property that the studios need.
That or the people voting just can't decide on which they really like. Of course the people contributing to the list might not have any say in the actual process of film production either, there is that to it!
36 is the story of cops on the trailer of armoured car robbers to be directed by Martin Campbell. Burn After Reading is the latest Coen brothers film about a CIA agent who lets lose an important CD by accident and stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand. Eagle Eye tells of two people associated with a terrorist cell by the government (heaven forbid that would ever happen) and is to be directed by D. J. Caruso and starring Shia LaBeouf, Rosario Dawson, Michelle Monaghan and Billy Bob Thornton, as well as Yes Man starring Jim Carrey.
A few surprises, and some very interesting titles and ideas in there. One thing that is clear, there's a fair list of political stories to be told. Any scripts that grab your attention in that list?