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The 2012 Black List unveiled its annual crop of best unproduced screenplays. Among the top vote-getters were:
1.) Draft Day (Rajiv Joseph, Scott Rothman), 65 mentions. On the day of the NFL Draft, Buffalo Bills general manager Sonny Weaver has the opportunity to save football in the city when he trades for the No. 1 pick. He must quickly decide what he’s willing to sacrifice in the pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred.
2.) A Country of Strangers (Sean Armstrong), 43 mentions. Based on true events, the story chronicles Inspector Geoff Harper‘s 40-year search for the Beaumont Children, three siblings taken from an Australian beach in January 1966.
PHOTOS: THR’s Awards Season Roundtable Series 2012: The Writers
2.) Seuss (Eyal Podell, Jonathan Stewart), 43 mentions. As a young man, Ted Geisel meets his future wife Helen, who encourages his fanciful drawings. And in the 1950s, when Ted is struggling professionally, Helen helps inspire the children’s book that will become his first big hit, The Cat in the Hat.
4.) Rodham (Young Il Kim), 39 mentions. During the height of the Watergate scandal, rising star Hillary Rodham is the youngest lawyer chosen for the House Judiciary Committee to Impeach Nixon, but she soon finds herself forced to choose between a destined path to the White House and her unresolved feelings for Bill Clinton, her former boyfriend who now teaches law in Arkansas.
5.) The Story of Your Life (Eric Heisserer), 35 mentions. Based on the short story by Ted Chiang. When alien crafts land around the world, a linguistics expert is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit.
6.) Wunderkind (Patrick Aison), 33 mentions. A Mossad-employed father and his CIA agent son team up to hunt an escaped Nazi.
7.) Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (Michael Werwie), 31 mentions. Based on a true story and told from the perspective of serial killer Ted Bundy, the story centers on a promising young law student fighting an oppressive legal system and growing public scrutiny when his routine traffic stop snowballs into shocking criminal charges, imprisonment, daring escapes and ultimately acting as his own attorney in a nationally televised murder trial.
8 (tie): Glimmer (Carter Blanchard), 29 mentions. When three friends go missing on a camping trip in a forest rumored to be haunted, the two left behind discover clues that lead them to a safe deposit box containing video tapes showing exactly what happened to their friends.
8 (tie): Me & Earl & the Dying Girl (Jesse Andrews), 29 mentions. Based on Andrews’ eponymous novel, a quirky high school student who enjoys making films sparks a friendship with a classmate dying of leukemia.
10.) Devils at Play (James Dilapo), 28 mentions. In the Soviet Union in 1937, a worker of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs finds a list of traitors, which he thinks is going to be his way out.
Also making the cut were Fathers and Daughters by Brad Desch; Somacell (Ashleigh Powell), a project that is being fast-tracked at Warner Bros.; George (Jeff Shakoor); Americatown (Ben Poole); Midnight at Noon (Nathaniel Halpern); The Final Broadcast (Chris Hutton, Eddie O’Keefe); Out of State (Eric Pearson); The Ballad of Pablo Escobar (Matt Aldrich); Comancheria (Taylor Sheridan); Clive (Natasha Pincus); From New York to Florida (Austin Reynolds); Stockholm, Pennsylvania (Nikole Beckwith); The Hooverville Dead (Brantley Aufill); Whiplash (Damien Chazelle); Transcendence (Jack Paglen); The Equalizer (Richard Wenk); Come and Find Me (Zack Whedon); Untitled Cops Script (Blake McCormick); Murder City (Will Simmons); Monsoon (Matt Ackley); Man of Tomorrow (Jeremy Slater); Fuck Marry Kill (Neel Shah, Alex Blagg); The Paper Man (Sean O’Keefe); Peste (Barbara Marshall); The Outskirts (Dominique Ferarri, Suzanne Wrubel); Ex Boyfriend of the Bride (Matt Hausfater); The Lighthouse (Eric Kirsten); Bleeding Kansas (Russell Sommer, Dan Frey); King of Heists (Will Staples); The Broken (John Glosser); Who Framed Tommy Callahan? (Harry Kellerman); Goodbye, Felix Chester (Max Taxe); The Judge (Bill Dubuque); El Tigre (Aaron Buchsbaum, Teddy Riley); Hibernation (Will Frank, Geneva Robertson-Dworet); Cherries (Brian Kehoe, Jim Kehoe); The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Mark Hogan); Flower (Alex McAulay); The One That Got Away (April Prosser); Titans of Park Row (Mitch Akselrad); Black Box (David Guggenheim); Hey, Stella! (Tom Shephard); Our Name Is Adam (T.S. Nowlin); The Killing Spree (Derek Elliott, Jack Donaldson); The Disciple Program (Tyler Marceca); Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi); The Eel (Roberto Bentivegna); The Keeping Room (Julia Hart); Hold on to Me (Brad Ingelsby); Shut In (Christina Hodson); All-Nighter (Brad Ingelsby); The Portland Condition (Dan Cohn, Jeremy Miller); Almanac (Jason Pagan, Andrew Stark); Sweet Virginia (Paul China, Benjamin China); Don’t Make Me Go (Vera Herbert); Whalemen (Tucker Parsons); Border Country (Jonathan Stokes); Doppelgangers (Evan Mirzai, Shea Mirzai); Penny Dreadful (Shane Atkinson); If They Move … Kill ’Em! (Kel Symons); Me & Earl & the Dying Girl (Jesse Andrews); Sand Castle (Chris Roessner); The Winter Kills (Ben Carney); The Survivalist (Stephen Fingleton); McCarthy (Justin Kremer); Conversion (Marissa Jo Cerar); Times Square (Taylor Materne, Jake Rubin); The Fault in Our Stars (Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber); and Ground Control to Major Tom (Jason Micallef).
The annual Black List is culled from Hollywood executives’ opinions about their favorite as-yet-unproduced screenplays. Created in 2005 by Franklin Leonard and Dino Sijamic, it has morphed into one of the most reliable barometers for hot properties. Previous Black List scripts include two of the past four best picture Oscar winners (Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech) and five of the past 10 screenplay winners (Juno, Slumdog Millionaire, The Social Network, The King’s Speech and The Descendants). More than 290 executives participated in this year’s survey.
“I think this is the year of the biopic,” says Leonard, noting the bevy of projects based on true-life figures from Hillary Rodham Clinton to Ted Bundy to Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss). “In general, true stories are well represented this year. If you look at films like [previous Black List script] Argo, if you do them well, there’s a market for them.”
Another popular theme this year was cancer. Three screenplays center on teenage characters with the disease: Me & Earl & the Dying Girl, Goodbye, Felix Chester and The Fault in Our Stars.
As for the agency breakdown, WME takes bragging rights with 21 mentions, followed by CAA (11.5), UTA (11), Gersh (8.5), ICM and Paradigm (seven each), Verve (six) and APA (one).
PHOTOS: THR’s Executive Roundtable
This is the first time that the list was released via the social media giant.
“Twitter’s role, both in Hollywood and the world beyond it, is truly singular,” Leonard said. “Our mission has always been to celebrate exceptional screenwriting and the writers who do it. We think this partnership has extraordinary potential to do that more effectively than we ever could before.”
Added Twitter’s head of sports and entertainment Omid Ashtari: “Increasingly, Twitter is a place where news breaks. Releasing the list on Twitter first is a great way to spark a conversation around these scripts.”
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