The Black List. No, not just that NBC drama you keep watching to see James Spader act circles around his co-stars, but also a rather big deal in Tinsel Town. Every year, hundreds of Hollywood execs vote on all the best unproduced screenplays for the year that crossed their desks, the results of which are compiled into an annual survey that has come to be known as The Black List. Having your script land on The Black List is a massive achievement for a writer as it shows that what you’ve come up with has certainly got tongues wagging and places an instant spotlight on your work.
While only about a third of the screenplays actually go on to be produced, plenty of past entrants on The Black List have become massively successful films, both critically and commercially, like Argo, American Hustle, Juno, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, Spotlight and The Revenant. And while yes, occasionally a hotly touted Black List script does end up being a poor movie for whatever reason (), this is definitely still the type of company you want your screenplay to keep. And this year, it seems everybody wants to hang out with Madonna.
A 1980’s set biopic about the erstwhile Material Girl has garnered the most votes this year to end up on the top of the list. It pulled in 48 mentions, 13 more than its closest rival… meaning you can probably start doing your fan-castings now already for you want to see play a young Madonna on-screen (Cara Delevingne or Emilia Clarke gets my vote!). Other notable entries include a meta drama about screenwriter Max Landis written by Landis himself, and the true story adaptation of a girl who tried to sneak into the Alaskan hotel where The Beatles were staying so that she could lose her virginity to George Harris. One script tells the tale of Celtic warrior princess, while another is a sci-fi actioner about a new witness protection program that hides witnesses in the past. The pickings are definitely diverse.
You can check out the entire list over HERE, but here are some of my highlights.
BLOND AMBITION by Elyse Hollander
In 1980s New York, Madonna struggles to get her first album released while navigating fame, romance, and a music industry that views women as disposal.
VOYAGERS by Zach Dean
The cosmic love story of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan.
IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE by Colby Day
Explores the entire history of the universe and our species through three interwoven storylines that question the very nature of life, love, mortality, where we’ve been, and where we’re going; the past, present, and future of the human race.
UNTITLED LAX MANDIS PROJECT by Seth Spector
A frustrated film exec at odds with the state of his industry is forced to work with the one person who is making him question everything.
HALA by Minhal Baig
When a teenaged Muslim-American girl, struggling with identity issues already, discovers her father is having an affair with a colleague, she responds by seducing her English teacher, ultimately leading to her parents’ divorce.
REVOLVER by Kate Trefry
Based on true events in Anchorage, Alaska in 1966, a teen girl attempts to sneak into the hotel where the Beatles are staying to lose her virginity to George Harrison.
FREE GUY by Matt Lieberman
A bank teller stuck in his routine discovers he’s a background character in a realistic, open world action-adventure video game and he is the only one capable of saving the city.
MAXIMUM KING! by Shay Hatten
An outlandish, surreal imagining of how in 1985 Stephen King wrote and directed his horror classic MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE.
I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW by Mike Makowsky
The apocalypse proves a blessing in disguise for one lucky recluse – until a second survivor arrives with the threat of companionship
BARBARIAN by Rosalind Ross
Based on the true story of Boudicca, a queen and warrior of the British Celtic Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire.
SAVING CHARLIE CHAPLIN by Justin Shady
With Nazi agents attempting to stop the production of a flm that is poking fun at Hitler, an FBI agent and an LAPD detective must team up to protect a drunk and angry Charlie Chaplin from being kidnapped.
THE WOMAN WITH RED HAIR by Michael Schatz
The extraordinary true story of Johanna “Hannie” Schaft, a young woman who dropped out of college to join the Dutch Resistance during WWII, eventually becoming one of their most talented assassins and one of the Nazi’s most wanted enemies.
CONTINGENCY PROTOCOL by Mark Townend
When futuristic technology renders the Federal Witness Protection Program obsolete, the U.S. Government begins using Time Travel to hide high-profle witnesses in the Past. When a security breach occurs, a U.S. Marshal and her witness struggle to fnd their way back to the Present Day while evading assassins.
A DECONSTRUCTION OF REALITY by Mattson Tomlin
Tasked with fnding a game changing take for the sixth Jason Bourne movie, Tom Milton goes deep down the rabbit hole of cracking the story. With the guidance (and abuse) of a professor from his past and Bourne himself, Tom begins workshopping scenes that begin to bleed into real life in unexpected ways.
THE GUN SHOW by Lucas Carter
A famous top cop wakes up twenty years after a shootout and is reinstated to solve the case that killed his old partner. Only problem: he’s a bull in a China shop, and 2016 is a very diferent time than the 1990s world he’s used to. To teach him the ropes, he’s paired with his old partner’s son, a risk averse traffic cop.
AMERICA: THE MOTION PICTURE by Dave Callaham
An R-rated action comedy, animated, revisionist history of the founding of the United States of America
REASON OF STATE by Matthew Orton
Twenty four hours inside the British Prime Minister’s abode at 10 Downing Street.
Last Updated: December 14, 2016