The Black List 2011 delivers the most liked scripts
The Black List, in case you didn't know, is a list that circulates Hollywood of the most liked unsigned scripts. Those are scripts that are sent around Hollywood executives and their assistants to read and judge whether they are worthy of being passed up the chain and purchased to be made in to a film.
The scripts just haven't made it to the screen yet, and there are plenty cases of films that have been made from Black List scripts after the year is up, and very successful ones too, but they tend not to be the mainstream films.
The list isn't without controversy though as there are some cries of it being slightly biased, some of it about agencies more interested in showing their worth than the scripts, and so on. However it remains an interesting indicator of what's out there that may still get made, or may never be seen from again, and in quite a number of cases that's a huge shame.
"Throw another G.I. Joe on the production line!...what's this Black List? Just release it, then burn it...Now about that Chipmunks film."
This year's list has some interesting entries, and I'll give you the top ten and anything else down the list that catches my eye.
So here's the top ten of the list:
The Imitation Game by Graham Moore
The story of British WWII cryptographer Alan Turing, who cracked the German Enigma code and later poisoned himself after being criminally prosecuted for being a homosexual.
When the Street Lights Go On by Chris Hutton, Eddie O'Keefe
In the early 1980s, a town suffers through the aftermath of a brutal murder of a high school girl and a teacher.
Chewie by Evan Susser, Van Robichaux
A satirical behind the scenes look at the making of Star Wars through the eyes of Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca.
The Outsider by Andrew Baldwin
In post World War II Japan, an American former prisoner-of-war rises in the yakuza.
Father Daughter Time: A Tale Of Armed Robbery And Eskimo Kisses by Matthew Aldrich
A man goes on a three state crime spree with an accomplice, his eleven year old daughter.
In The Event Of a Moon Disaster by Mike Jones
An alternate telling of the historic Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon that examines what might have happened if the astronauts had crash landed there.
Maggie by John Scott
As a "walking dead" virus spreads across the country, a farm family helps their eldest daughter come to terms with her infection as she slowly becomes a flesh-eating zombie.
The Current War by Michael Mitnick
Based on the true story of the race between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to develop a practical system of electricity and sell their respective inventions to the country and the world.
The End by Aron Eli Coleite
Four people - a veteran broadcaster in London, a sixteen year old girl and her boyfriend in Ann Arbor, and a devoted family man in Shanghai - each try to make peace with their lives before an interstellar event ends the world in six hours.
Beyond the Pale by Chad Feehan
Teenage siblings suspect they've been ripped off by the town undertaker, but what they discover is much more sinister than either imagined.
In The Event Of a Moon Disaster, The Current War and Beyond the Pale all sound rather interesting to me, but then I'm not a Hollywood executive in charge of the budget. They could all deliver something new and exciting, but it's so hard to judge on just a short blurb.
I had thought that The Imitation Game was already heading to production, the story about Alan Turning, but perhaps I'm wrong, or maybe this list does include scripts that have been bought just not moved through to production.
Here are some of the others that stood out with just a short sentence pitch.
Ezekiel Moss by Keith Bunin
A mysterious stranger who possibly has the power to channel the souls of the dead changes the lives of everyone in a small Nebraska town, especially a young widow and her 11-year-old son.
Grace of Monaco by Arash Amel
Grace Kelly, age 33 and having given up her acting career to focus on being a full time princess, uses her political maneuvering behind the scenes to save Monaco while French Leader Charles de Gaulle and Monaco's Prince Rainier III are at odds over the principality's standing as a tax haven.
Bethlehem by Larry Brenner
A group of people struggling to survive a zombie apocalypse make an alliance with a vampire, trading themselves as food in exchange for protection since zombies don't eat vampire.
Powell by Ed Whitworth
Based on the true story of Colin Powell questioning the Bush administration leading up to his United Nations presentation where he made the case for going to war with Iraq.
The Knoll by Christopher Cantwell, Christopher Rogers
A rookie cop and his potential flame witness JFK gunned down from the grassy knoll on November 22, 1963. Within hours, they're on the run from the murderers who desperately need them silenced.
Crazy for The Storm by Will Fetters
The true story of Norman Ollestad's relationship with his father, who thrust the boy into the world of extreme surfing and competitive downhill skiing at the age of three. But it was that experience that allowed an 11-year old Norman to survive a plane crash amidst a blizzard in the San Gabriel mountains.
The Slackfi Project by Howard Overman
A hapless and broken hearted barista is visited by two bad-ass soldiers from the future who tell him mankind is doomed, and he alone can save them.
Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino
A freed slave named Django is trained as a bounty hunter by a German dentist named Schultz, and the two men set out to find Django's enslaved wife.
The Accountant by Bill Dubuque
The Treasury Department pursues a brilliant, autistic accountant who doubles as an assassin and "problem-solves" with precision in more ways than one.
Bridges on the Fort Point Channel by Chuck Maclean
An Irish family in the 1970s, dealing with the loss of their father and the busing of black kids into white neighbor-hoods, decides to blow up all the bridges in Boston.
The Last Witness by Stefan Jaworski
An FBI Agent interrogates an amnesiac, sole survivor of a Boston bombing in order to prevent future terrorist attacks.
Subject Zero by Dave Cohen
A Frankenstein-like tale of a scientist who develops a powerful new drug that brings his son back to life after he dies in a terrible car accident. Unfortunately, the desperate experiment of a loving father leads to the creation of a flesh-eating zombie epidemic with horrific consequences.
77 by David Matthews
Two stories from 1974 are linked together - the unsolved murder of an LAPD officer and the nationally televised shootout in South Central Los Angeles between the Symbionese Liberation Army and the LAPD where 50,000 rounds of gunfire was exchanged. The events will be seen through the eyes of a pair of police partners, one black and one white.
Self/Less by Alex Pastor, David Pastor
An extremely wealthy elderly man dying from cancer undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness to the body of a healthy young man but everything may not be as good as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body's origins and the secret organization that will kill to keep its secrets.
Again I thought that the Grace of Monaco script was on its way, but last we heard it was looking for a director, so this list is of the scripts that haven't been made into films, no matter where they might be in production at the moment.
Bethlehem sounds rather interesting to me, the idea of people willingly giving themselves to a vampire to survive some other more terrible fate, but will the script have more than the sentence suggests?
Powell is another that sounds hugely fascinating to me, and I think if there was a film made about Colin Powell and some inside stories of the whole WMD debate there would be a rather large audience to see it.
Again, Django Unchained? It's been gathering cast faster than I can say Django Unchained fourteen times.
I'm not sure if Bridges on the Fort Point Channel is an actual story or not, but it is definitely an interesting one, similarly so for 77.
Subject Zero and Self/Less both sound like they are very close to films we've seen so many times before but even in that short sentence there's a possibility of something more from the idea, if the script brings it to the fore that is.
So that's this year's list, expect the films we know are already heading to production to continue heading that way, and expect a couple more to follow next year. Hopefully a lot more will because there are a lot of scripts in there that sound interesting enough to make it to the cinema, but so many of them don't have huge explosions, talking robots and are based on sellable franchises.
You can see the complete list over at Deadline.