Black List Screenwriter Nabs Gigs With StudioCanal, Warner Bros. (Exclusive)

Chris Salmanpour
Courtesy of The Black List

U.K. writer Chris Salmanpour is a recipient of a blind script commitment through The Black List.

An English-Iranian screenwriter has booked a double gig thanks to The Black List.

StudioCanal and The Picture Company, the production banner run by Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman, have chosen U.K. writer Chris Salmanpour as the recipient of a blind script commitment through their partnership with The Black List, it was announced Thursday.

At the same time, Salmanpour has signed a blind script commitment with Warner Bros. via their own partnership with The Black List, which is designed to find emerging writers from nontraditional sources.

For the StudioCanal deal, Rona and Heineman will produce the yet-to-be-decided project through their banner.

Salmanpour was selected for the deal in accordance with the partnership formed last February between StudioCanal, The Black List and The Picture Company to find a new voice among European Union writers for a blind script deal. The Picture Company has an overall deal with the European conglomerate and is in preproduction on The Commuter, an action-thriller to star Liam Neeson.

At Warner Bros., Salmanpour's project will be overseen by Jesse Ehrman and Nik Mavinkurve.

His talent was showcased in his sample script The Promise, a thriller set in Iran which he wrote based on a personal experience. It tells the story of a complicated relationship between a prison warden and a doomed prisoner.

While both Black List partnerships are still in their nascent stages, founder Franklin Leonard said it was “unusual” that one person nabbed both gigs, but added, “He really is that good.”

Salmanpour submitted his script under two separate eligible Black List programs and made the top 10 lists, which were then submitted to StudioCanal/Picture Company and also Warner Bros. Execs at both companies then made their selections.

“Chris didn’t know how to get into Hollywood and now this guy, who hasn’t worked prior to us, is now working for two separate studios,” said Leonard. “There are people outside of the system, in L.A., in London, and places in between, who are writing good screenplays and we are finding them.”

Salmanpour was recently signed by Verve, who discovered him on the Black List website. He is additionally repped by Luke Speed at Curtis Brown in the U.K.

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