This year at the Austin Film Festival, studio executive and “Black List” founder Franklin Leonard introduced the opening film, Butter. It’s a fantastic satirical comedy written by Jason Micallef and Leonard’s post-screening Q&A with him was equally hilarious and unconventional.
Sitting in the upper deck at the Paramount Theatre, I was in awe at how Leonard had not only created the list just six years prior but how it provided such legitimacy to emerging screenwriters, like Micallef. He was relatively unknown in ’08, but his script placed third on the list. Now he has a movie coming out starring Jennifer Garner, his new scripts have Jack Black and Jason Segel attached (separately), and he wrote a movie titled Good Vibrations about, um, marital aids starring Charlize Theron. That’s the power of the Black List.
Simply put, “The Black List” is a collection of the best unproduced screenplays as voted on by Hollywood executives and high-level assistants. But it has become a bellwether for up-and-coming talent at a time when the industry desperately needs originality. Though, at the risk of being snarky, there are two Pinocchio concepts and two sex tape scripts on this list.
Here are those screenplays who made the 2011 list, preceded by the numbers of votes it received:
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.
(Drew Barrymore signed to direct this week, here are some details)
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.
Matt Damon is attached to direct.
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 3
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.
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 princi¬pality’s standing as a tax haven.
HE’S FUCKIN’ PERFECT by Lauryn Kahn
A social media savvy girl who is pessimistic about love finds the perfect guy and decides to use her internet research skills to turn herself into his perfect match.
Emma Stone attached to star. Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are producing. Great script.
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.
THE THREE MISFORTUNES OF GEPPETTO: by Michael Vukadinovich
A prequel to the story of Pinocchio in which Geppetto endures a life of misfortune, war, and ad¬venture, all to be with Julia Moon, his true love.
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.
HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY: by Ed Solomon
A child prodigy tries to take control of his life away from his demanding parents.
DESPERATE HOURS by E Nicholas Mariani
A small town crippled by WWI and the Spanish flu finds itself facing major moral questions and a brutal invading force when a young girl shows up on a rancher’s doorstep covered in blood.
A MANY SPLINTERED THING by Chris Shafer, Paul Vicknair
When a charming heartbreaker finally meets a girl he can’t have, he discovers the true meaning of love by living out other people’s love stories and writing his own.
FLARSKY by Daniel Sterling
A political journalist courts his old babysitter, who is now the United States secretary of state.
BLOOD MOUNTAIN by Jonathan Stokes After his team is ambushed and killed in Pakistan, a young army ranger must escort the world’s most wanted terrorist over dangerous terrain in order to bring him to justice. While being hunted by both of their enemies, they must find a way to work together in order to survive.
BASTARDS by Justin Malen
Two brothers, raised to believe their biological father died, find out their mother slept with many powerful and famous men in the 1970s, and the siblings hit the road to find their real father.
Sold to Paramount 24 hours after being put on the market. Scriptshadow loved it
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.
THE MUSEUM OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS by Natalie Krinsky
Lucy, a twenty-eight year old junior curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, is sleeping with her boss. When he dumps her she begins a collection of “break up items” and starts a blog which goes viral.
ST VINCENT DE VAN NUYS by Ted Melfi
When a twelve year old boy in need of a babysitter moves in next door to a misanthropic aging retiree whose life mainly consists of gambling, hookers, and drinking, the elder becomes an unlikely mentor to the boy.
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.
Already in production and scheduled for December 25, 2012. Details here.
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.
SAVING MR. BANKS by Kelly Marcel
The story of how Walt Disney got the rights for Mary Poppins.
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 BIG STONE GRID by Craig Zahler
A cop is pulled into an underworld organization that brutally murders people to extort money out of others.
CITIES OF REFUGE by Brandon Willer
A former FBI psychologist is called in to investigate when a young girl goes missing after the apparent murder of her father and brother by two strangers in a small Oklahoma town.
Charlize Theron is producing.
GOOD KIDS by Chris McCoy
Four overachieving high school students in Cape Cod reinvent themselves during the summer after graduation.
LEAVING PETE by Ali Waller, Morgan Murphy
A recently divorced author is stunned when his ex writes a popular book about their breakup, and he has to keep that fact secret from his new girlfriend, who works for the book’s publisher.
HIDDEN by Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer
An elevated horror-thriller about a family hiding in a bomb shelter after escaping a mysterious outbreak.
DIRTY GRANDPA by John Phillips
A young groom engaged to a demanding woman is forced to spend the week before his wedding with his half-blind, half-crazy, and wholly horny grandfather. Through this wild journey, his grandfather shows him how to take life by the balls and lead with his heart.
GRIM NIGHT by Allen Bey, Brandon Bestenheider
A family has to defend themselves from the Grims, strange creatures who attack Earth and kill thousands one night every year.
WATCH ROGER DO HIS THING by Michael Starrbury
A retired hitman gets roped back into his old trade in order to save his friend’s life and quickly finds himself caught in a struggle trying to finish the job, and get his family out of Chicago alive at the same time.
THE FLAMINGO THIEF by Mike Lesieur
Grief stricken over his wife leaving him, a man finds solace in an odd activity: swiping figurines of flamingos.
TWO NIGHT STAND by Mark Hammer
After an extremely regrettable one night stand, two strangers wake up to find themselves snowed in after sleeping through a blizzard that put all of Manhattan on ice. They’re now trapped together in a tiny apartment, forced to get to know each other way more than any one night stand should.
SEX TAPE by Kate Angelo
When a married couple make a sex tape to spice up their relationship, it disappears, and they are frantic to get it back.
THE GUN EATERS by Alex Paraskevas, Jordan Goldberg
Four hardened New York detectives race to apprehend a relentless spree-killer who’s executing victims from Queens to Southampton in the span of a single day.
LITTLE WHITE CORVETTE by Michael Diliberti
A down and out brother and sister go to Miami to sell a duffel bag of cocaine that they found in the trunk of a corvette left them by their dead father.
JANE GOT A GUN by Brian Duffield
After her outlaw husband returns home shot with eight bullets and barely alive, Jane reluctantly reaches out to an ex-lover who she hasn’t seen in over ten years to help her defend her farm when the time comes that her husband’s gang eventually tracks him down to finish the job.
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.
MURDERS & ACQUISITIONS by Jonathan Stokes
The world of high-stakes finance collides with that of high-priced hitmen when an ousted CEO decides to hire an assassin to kill the corporate raider who stole his company.
FLASHBACK by Will Honley
A former NASA pilot with amnesia — also the first person to travel the speed of light — realizes he has the ability to travel back in time and along the way rediscovers his love for his wife.
THE LAST DROP by Brandon Murphy, Phil Murphy
A fully functioning alcoholic meets the girl of his dreams and soon discovers that there’s a lot more at stake than love if he doesn’t clean up his act.
FRIEND OF BILL by Harper Dill
After a humiliating episode in New York, a young woman returns to her hometown and tries to deal with her alcoholism.
DEAD OF WINTER by Sarah Conradt
A teenage girl heads to a remote cabin in the moun¬tains with her father and new stepmother – an expe¬rience the father hopes will bond the two ladies. But when a mysterious wounded Park Ranger shows up, family bonding will be the least of their concerns.
ON A CLEAR DAY by Ryan Engle
When a powerful and mysterious force invades an American city, a young father must traverse the battle-torn city in an effort to save his wounded wife and rescue their stranded children. In the process, our hero becomes the target of an enemy who will stop at nothing to kill him.
HOME BY CHRISTMAS – BOB HOPE IN KOREA by Ben Schwartz
Young Larry Gelbart goes on tour with his idol Bob Hope in the middle of the Korean War and learns the true price of patriotism.
THE PRETTY ONE by Jenee LaMarque
When a woman’s identical “prettier” twin sister dies, the woman assumes her sister’s identity, moving into her apartment and the big city.
BAD WORDS by Andrew Dodge
The bastard child of the organizer of the national spelling bee gets his revenge by finding a loophole and attempting to win the bee as an adult, only to find friendship in a young Indian contestant.
JURASSIC PARK by Imran Zaidi
A high school couple and two of their friends ditch school to catch a special preview screening of JURASSIC PARK.
GASLIGHT by Ian Fried
Secretly imprisoned in a London insane asylum, the infamous Jack the Ripper helps Scotland Yard investigators solve a series of grisly murders whose victims all share one thing in common: dual puncture wounds to the neck.
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.
THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD by Tom O’Connor
The world’s best bodyguard must protect his arch nemesis, the world’s top assassin…so he can testify against a brutal dictator and save his wife.
CRISTO by Ian Shorr
A man is unlawfully sentenced to an infamous prison and escapes, then transforms himself into the mysterious Cristo and systematically destroys the men who manipulated and enslaved him.
UNTITLED HLAVIN HEIST by John Hlavin
An American thief living in Paris is coerced into pulling off a complex heist in order to save his kidnapped wife.
LINE OF SIGHT by F Scott Frazier
After a military coup takes out the executive branch of government, the country’s survival depends on a Navy Seal sniper extraction team getting the Speaker of the House from Washington DC to New York.
Ben Affleck is attached to direct. It’s told through a first-person video game style.
PINOCCHIO by Bryan Fuller
A wooden puppet, Pinocchio, dreams of becoming a real boy.
THE WEDDING by Andrew Goldberg
A group of couples deal with their respective issues as they attend a wedding.
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.
GUYS NIGHT by Christopher Baldi
Sick of brunches, bosses, and light beer, four co-workers set out on the mother of all guys nights in an attempt to rediscover their manhood.
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.
HYPERDRIVE by Alex Ankeles, Morgan Jurgenson
When a tough cop recruits a geeky sci-fi author to help him track down a mysterious murder witness, they find themselves in the middle of a space opera playing out here on Earth.
BEFORE I FALL by Maria Maggenti
When a popular teen girl is killed in a car crash, she relives the critical day seven times and makes changes in an attempt to affect the outcome; in the process, she herself changes as she tries to make up for previous heartless, self-absorbed behavior and gains a better understanding of herself and others. As she evolves and makes the connections necessary to save a bullied, depressed girl’s life, she comes to accept her own fate.
BREYTON AVE by J Daniel Shaffer
A group of teens living without adults and under their own social order in a small fenced-in neighborhood are forced to face what they fear is the inevitable physical danger beyond the fence.
EL FUEGO CALIENTE by Ben Schwartz
A remake of SOAPDISH, a desperate telenovela star dreaming of Hollywood stardom has her life implode, making her real life crazier than the insane show she made famous.
THE DUFF by Josh Cagan
Adapted from Kody Keplinger’s novel THE DUFF, the travails of a seventeen year old girl who believes she is the “designated ugly fat friend.”
UNTITLED ARIZONA PROJECT by Luke Del Tredici
A satirically dark comedy about a homicidal foreclosure victim kidnapping a real estate agent and planning to kill her in the housing development where she finagled money from customers like him.