The Black List 2009
The 2009 list of the most liked scripts around important studio executives and/or their PA's and EA's has been released, well the top ones have at least, and it has some interesting stories on there.
I'm not going to go and steal someone else's thunder and copy and paste the entire list from elsewhere, but I will race through them and mention the ones we should be paying interest to.
Here's the top ten from Deadline Hollywood Daily, where you can see the entire list. After that I just pick out the titles that sound interesting.
1: The Muppet Man by Christopher Weekes
This is the story of Jim Henson, the man who was behind the Muppets and made them into the name they are today. It's supposed to be a little surreal at times, but what a story to tell.
2: The Social Network by Aaron Sorkin
This is the story of the creation of Facebook, it's being made and I have to say it's a surprise it's so high on the list, must be a really good script then. Drama above all it would seem, and I thought they were going for more humour.
3: The Voices by Michael R. Perry
A schizophrenic accidentally kills a woman from his work and so he starts to cover it up. That's when his cat and dog starts talking to him. He even has conversations with the severed head of the woman. Dark and twisted humour it would seem. Apparently Mark Romanek who developed One Hour Photo is working on this.
4: Prisoners By Aaron Guzikowski
Antoine Fuqua is set to direct the film about a Christian survivalist whose daughter and best friend disappear on Thanksgiving Day. The police have a suspect but let him go, so he kidnaps and tortures him to find his daughter. There are a lot of scripts like this out there but then Fuqua is directing this one, that's a damn good reason to see it.
5: Cedar Rapids by Phil Johnston
An insurance salesman who has amounted to little in his life is chosen by his company to represent them at a big insurance convention. It's a comedy.
6: Londongrad By David Scarpa
A film about the Russian Alexander Litvinenko who was alleged to have been assassinated with radioactive material. It's an adaptation of Alan Cowell’s 2008 book The Terminal Spy: A True Story of Espionage, Betrayal and Murder telling the story of the spy's life. A story that hasn't been fully answered yet, and might just be on film.
7: L.A. Rex By Will Beal
Rookie cop gets partnered with a hardened grizzly cop taking on the L.A. gangs as they are about to explode. Haven't we seen this? Seems like this one is going to be tough.
8: Desperados By Ellen Rapoport
Isla Fisher is set to star in this film about a woman who sends a cutting email to the man she just slept with when he doesn't answer her calls. Oh yeah, that's because he's in Mexican hospital after an accident. Her and her friends head off to try and delete the email before he gets it. Hey, wait a minute, in this day and age it would be Tweeted, Facebooked, IM'ed, etc.
9: The Gunslinger By John Hlavin
A Texas Ranger is murdered, horrifically killed and tortured in fact, and his brother sets out for revenge that costs him a dear personal price, but he keeps fighting for it and his life, and soon everyone he knows is in danger.
10 : By Way of Helena By Matt Cook
A Texas Ranger (no this one's different) and his wife are investigating Mexican bodies washed washing up in a river and something about the local town seems somewhat off.
The Days Before By Chad St. John
A man comes backwards in time one day at a tie trying to sop a race of time-travelling alends from destroying humanity.
Some other interesting titles:
PAWN SACRIFICE by Steve Knight – The life story of the legendary chess player Bobby Fischer to the point of his historic world championship against Boris Spassky. I'm fascinated to see how this turns into a film.
NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH by Jared Stern – A group of men set up a neighbourhood watch scheme to allow theme to get some time away from their families and do some male bonding. However the uncover a plot to destroy the world and have to foil it. Sounds as bizarre as The Burbs.
BEST ACTRESS by Michael Zam and Jaffe Cohen – The story of the careers of the legendary actresses Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, how they fought for the roles and the attention, and their on set experience on Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Who are they going to get to play these two huge stars?
Z FOR ZACHARIAH by Nissar Modi – A sixteen year old girl survives a nuclear war in a small American town. By herself?
BURIED by Chris Sparling – A civilian contractor in Iraq is kidnapped and wakes up to find himself buried in a coffin in the desert. Sounds rather Hitchcockian, and that's a good thing.
THE GIRL WITH THE RED RIDING HOOD by David Leslie Johnson – A modern day version of the fairy tale but with a love triangle in the middle of the story. Don't tell me it's Twilight!
THE TRADE by Dave Mandel – The true story, allegedly, of two New York Yankees pitchers who swapped wives in the early seventies and caused a national scandal. Now it happens on television all the time.
JIMI by Max Borenstein – The life story of Jimi Hendrix. Yippeee! Now get the rights to the music.
BOBBY MARTINEZ by Ric Roman Waugh – The story of the the Mexican-American surfer who rose from the gangs in the streets of California to win every major amateur surfing tournament and the ASP Rookie of the Year in his first season.
SHIMMER LAKE by Oren Uziel – A small town bank job begins to fall apart and as it does so it reveals that just about everyone in the town is involved in some way.
A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS: THE LEGEND OF NOLAN BUSHNELL by Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman – The story of Nolan Bushnell who started the legendary Atari in the seventies. Now there's a story to tell. After seeing the British story of Sinclair versus Acorn, I can say there's tons of mileage in these stories.
ARTHUR by Peter Baynham – The remake.
2 GUNS by Blake Masters – The adaptation of the comic book that sees a DEA Agent and an undercover Naval Intelligence Officer investigating each other while stealing money from the mob.
IF I STAY by Shauna Cross – Adapted from the novel it tells the story of a teenage girl who leaves her body after a car crash and has to decide whether to return to it or not. It's an interesting idea, but the real question would be why she has to decide, wouldn't she just want back in?
THE GHOST AND THE WOLF by Rylend Grant and Dikran Ornekian – An ex-cop and his partner get back together after years of distrust to fight the vicious Russian mobsters who destroyed one of their lives in the nineties and pushed the other to Captain.
THE BLIND RAGE OF PEACOAT MILLER by Adam Penn – A college student discovers that an internet porn film turns its viewers into murdering psychopaths. As the killers spread he has to save the girl he's had a crush on forever and try to restrain his impulses at the same time. Sounds like the Ring for teenage sex maniacs.
RENKO VEGA & THE JENNIFER NINE by John Raffo – Renko Vega is a one-time hero that is now a galaxy wondering rogue and thief in his hugely intelligent spaceship called Jennifer 9. He is forced to become a hero once again when the daughter of the President of Earth is kidnapped. Now there's a story and a half.
THE TRUE MEMOIRS OF AN INTERNATIONAL ASSASSIN by Jeff Morris – A writer creates a work of fiction about an international assassin, but is horrified when his publisher resells it as a piece of non-fiction and soon everyone from the CIA to drug cartels are after him, including a beautiful investigative journalist. I really like this, it has the feel of those seventies and eighties conspiracy thrillers, and I love them.
NO BLOOD, NO GUTS, NO GLORY by Chase Palmer – The story of a secret mission for a spy and twenty Union soldiers during the Civil War which, if successful, could end the war outright.
COMIC CON by Matthew Sullivan and Michael Diliberti – A group of comic geeks go to Comic-Con to execute a daring raid and ultimately save their local comic store. Great advert, and a fun sounding caper.
CROOK FACTORY by Nicholas Meyer – Adapted from the novel and based on the true events of an FBI Agent looking after Ernest Hemingway as he runs a spy ring in World War II Cuba.
THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY by Mark Bomback – Another comic adaptation that sees six child superheroes reuniting to stop one of their own from leading a violin symphony that will destroy the world. Interestingly the kids were raised by a brilliant scientist and a hyper-intelligent chimanzee.
HANNA by David Farr - A fourteen year old girl is raised by her father to be a cold hearted killing machine.
THE HAND JOB by Maggie Carey - A coming-of-age comedy about a teenage girl who gives her first hand job. Now this sounds like a metaphor for what Hollywood is going through right now.
THE HUNGRY RABBIT JUMPS by Robert Tannen - A man becomes entangled in a secret society that forces him to murder. Could be interesting.
THE CURSE OF MEDUSA by J Lee and Tom Welch – A story that looks at the origin of Medusa the Gorgon. I have a feeling this might be modernised as well, I hope not.
MEDIEVAL by Alex Litvak and Michael Finch - An unlikely group of imprisoned warriors are forced on a suicide mission to steal the King's crown in order to gain their freedom. However they soon realize they've been set up to take the fall for the assassination of the King.
OWENS MANUAL by Greg Ferkel - A mild-mannered IT guy finds an 'owners manual' to his dull life but when he gets to the end of the manual he begins to struggle with the complexities of his actual life. Sounds kind of interesting, but I don't see where it's going to go.
THE LAST STAND by Andrew Knauer – Now this sounds kind of interesting, a drug cartel king escapes his trial in a 200mph Gumpert Apollo, and the only thing in between him and Mexican freedom is a small town cop in a bordertown. Sounds implausible, but also somewhat interesting.
JAWS OF LIFE by Michael Goldbach – A seventeen year old's parents are getting divorced and at the same time he falls for a much older woman, old enough to be his mother, and he struggles with the idea between the two examples of love. It reminds me a little of Class, I loved Jacqueline Bisset in that film.
THE TREES by Tyler Hisel – A mysterious force is within the trees outside a small town. It's isolated and threatened and the town is terrified. Meanwhile the Sheriff is trying to fight his own demons in order to save his own family and the town. Sounds a little like The Village, but perhaps it'll be more appealing to the masses.
SAND DOGS by Vineet Dewan and Angus Fletcher – Two Western Red Crescent Paramedics are operating in the Gaza strip. That's it, but actually it's enough.
SEX, GREED, MONEY, MURDER & CHICKEN FRIED STEAK by Reinhard Denke – The history of oilman T. Cullen Davis, the richest man in the United States ever to be tried and acquitted twice for the murder of his stepdaughter. Apparently this marked the end of the reign of Texas oil billionaires.
THE WETTEST COUNTY by Nick Cave – The adaptation of the book which follows a moonshine gang operating in the bootlegging capital of America during prohibition.
WALL STREET 2: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS by Allan Loeb – We all know which one this is.
THE UNDERLING by Dave Stoller and Ben Shiffrin – A man discovers his girlfriend is working for the devil and decides he has to escape as soon as possible.
THE VATICAN TAPES by Chris Borrelli – The Catholic Church store much beneath the vaults of Vatican City, and in a highly secured vault they store the tapes and evidence of exorcisms they've conducted. One of these tapes gets stolen and is released to the public by an anonymous source. If I remember rightly this tape reveals the Church killing someone through their exorcism.
YEAR 12 by Edward Ricourt – Twelve years after an alien invasion has reduced humanity to a shadow of its former self, almost slaves to the alien race. One man, a former soldier, has injected himself with deadly uranium and is trying to get his way to a rebel base where they can extract the uranium and use it in a nuclear missile to try and reverse the fight.
Now there's some interesting scripts and stories in that list, and there are even more which sound extremely dull and boring that I've left out.
What do you think, are there some ones in there that grab your attention?