A little back story - the Black List is not a “best of” list by any regard. Instead it is referred to as a “most liked” list. Each year Franklin Leonard asks several members of the entertainment industry elite - top agents, managers, executives, people like that - to vote for their favorite unproduced screenplays and each year he publishes the resulting list. Several of your favorite unique movies of the past few years (Juno, 500 Days of Summer, Lars and The Real Girl) appeared on the list and it has helped launch quite a few careers.
Having said that, there is a caveat. While the criteria calls for the screenplay to be “unproduced” several of these works have either been optioned and/or are in production. In fact, a few have already been made. And there have been whispers that some agencies and managers stack the list for their own clients so this is by no means a fair or accurate list. But alas, that’s Hollywood baby.
Anyway, on to the most promising sounding scripts!
College Republicans - Wes Jones. Taking the top spot this year is the true story of Karl Rove running for the presidency of the College Of Republicans under the guidance of Lee Atwater. Rove is one of the most devious little bastards of the American political system in the past two decades. It’ll be interesting to see this story translated to screen. Shia LaBeouf and Paul Dano are loosely attached to the project.
Jackie - Noah Oppenheim. The second place script follows Jackie Kennedy in the immediate week following JFK’s assassination. While the nation mourned the loss of its leader, she mourned the death of her husband...intriguing to say the least. Sounds heartwrenching. Steven Spielberg is on board to executive produce through Amblin, with Rachel Weisz in talks to star.
All You Need is Kill - Dante Harper. Third place goes to the first skeptical inclusion, an adaptation of a graphic novel. Its high ranking somewhat ensures that it is indeed good, but still the fact that it isn’t original isn’t promising. The story follows a soldier in the future who finds himself caught in a time loop after dying on the battlefield. His tactical skills become more concise after each "death". Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) to direct.
999 - Matt Cook. A group of corrupt cops have to shoot a fellow officer in order to get away. How can you not like the sound of that? John Hillcoat to direct, Chris Pine in talks to star.
Margin Call - JC Chandor. Our first produced screenplay! This one stars Kevin Spacey and a gaggle of gifted performers. You’ll be able to see it next year as it premieres at Sundance.
American Bullshit - Eric Warren Singer. Another true story of an FBI sting in the US Congress. This is a perfect example of the unwritten rule of the Black List: if you want your film on it, give its title a little dirty word.
The Last Son of Isaac Lemay - Greg Johnson. An aging outlaw is convinced his children are evil and sets off to kill him. However, his worst fears come to life when he meets his last remaining son. Sounds a lot like Dexter and I’m completely okay with that.
Die in a Gun Fight - Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari. A contemporary take on the Romeo & Juliet tale. This one just had Zac Efron attached to it and has a good chance of getting made.
Imagine - Dan Fogelman. You’ll be seeing this one soon enough with Steve Carell as the son of an aging rockstar discovers the life of his father he never knew existed.
Chronicle - Max Landis. Three teens discovers they have gained superpowers after contact with a mysterious substance in the woods. Things start off all fun and games until they start to turn on each other. Finally! Something not involving politics!
Your Bridesmaid is a Bitch - Brian Duffeld. A guy agrees to be a groomsman for his sister’s wedding only to discover the woman who broke his heart is also a part of the wedding. Why the guy (or the sister for that matter) didn’t see this coming remains to be seen. But again, put a dirty word in your title = recognition.
What Happened To Monday? - Max Botkin. A group of identical septuplets has to investigate the disappearance of one their siblings when the government forces families to only conceive one child due to population overcrowding. The possibilities of this seem amazing and due to the title it seems likely each sibling is named after a day of the week. Go me.
The Butler - Danny Strong. A black butler in the White House services eight US Presidents. Could be Forrest Gump. Could be TMZ. Either way, I’m there.
One Day - David Nicholls. Here’s the official Black List summary, “Dexter and Emma meet for the first time on college graduation day in 1988 and proceed to reunite one day a year for the next 20 years.” Here’s my official reactiong, “Bluuuuurgh.” This one is in post-production with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess starring. Lone Scherfig (An Education) directs.
Murder of a Cat - Christian Magalhars & Robert Snow. A dark comedy about a guy investigating his cat’s death? Why hasn’t this been made sooner?
Can You Keep A Secret - Megan Martin. A woman spills all of her secrets to the stranger on a rough plane ride. Turns out the stranger is the CEO of her company. This logline actually made me laugh out loud. I really hope it gets made.
Cinema Verite - David Seltzer. “Based on the PBS series ‘An American Family,’ cameras follow a family as they go about their daily life.” I’m sorry, I couldn’t make it through that sentence. I had to copy and paste.
The Girl With Something Extra - Terrence Michael. A girl enters high school and suddenly realizes she’s a boy who has been raised his whole life to believe he is a girl? Talk about an awkward first day of gym class.
Ricky Stanicky - Jeff Bushell. Three childhood friends invent someone to take the blame for all of their shenanigans. Eventually their wives demand to meet this person and they hire and actor to play him. Sounds like a Farrelly Brothers movie and I mean that in the most sincere way possible. James Franco is attached.
Zombie Baby - Andy Jones. You don’t need to know anything other than the title. Trust me.
Boy Scouts Vs. Zombies - Carrie Evans & Emi Mochizuko. Again, no other information necessary.
Prom - Katie Wech. “High school students prepare for their prom.” No, seriously. That is all there is to it.
Fucking Jane Austen - Blake Bruns. Again, use a dirty word, get Black Listed. But this one actually lives up to its title. Two men are pissed at Austen for creating unrealistic expectations about love among women (preach it brothers!) so they get sent back in time. Unfortunately the only way for them to get back is to have Jane Austen fall in love and sleep with one of them.
Paint - Brit McAdams. From the list, “A Bob Ross-esque PBS painting show host must fight for his career when his station brings in a rival painting host.” Stop, you had me a Bob Ross-esque.
The story starts at a junior high dance where a nerdy kid Jeremy asks each one of the popular girls to dance. All of them in one way or another rebuff and ridicule Jeremy mercilessly. Jumping ahead 13 years it's nearing Valentine's Day and the girls still close friends are now all grown up. There's sexy Paige (Denise Richards) smart Shelley (Katherine Heigl) fun Lily (Jessica Cauffiel) sweet Kate (Marley Shelton) and ugly duckling-turned-swan Dorothy (Jessica Capshaw). Tragically the girls and the men in their lives are being bumped off one by one in rather gruesome ways by a killer in a angel mask with most of the murders taking place at Dorothy's Valentine's Day party. Is it Jeremy who's come back for revenge or someone else?
Well there certainly isn't a lack of beautiful people in this movie. And that's what a slasher film is all about. Not much is required of the acting besides looking scared and asking "Who's there?" But darn it they all look good doing it. As far as any notable standouts Denise Richard's sexy bad girl actually has the audience guessing whether or not she's the killer which is a credit to her performance. Other than that the rest of the cast just goes along for the ride in an extremely predictable script.
Really what can one say about another slasher film that is incredibly formulaic? There are no real twists or surprises. One must plod through the whole movie hoping to find a touch of originality or even creativity but is pretty much served the same tired horror schtick as in most other horror flicks. The only saving grace is the more well-known cast members especially David Boreanaz ("Angel") as Kate's boyfriend Richards ("The World Is Not Enough" "Wild Things") and Shelton (in the new release "Sugar and Spice"). And unfortunately that really isn't saying a whole lot.
Top Story: Spidey 3 on the Way!
Although they are snarled in a web of litigation over Spider-Man licensing fees and revenue, Sony Pictures and comic book publisher Marvel Enterprises Inc. are already looking ahead at a third Spider-Man blockbuster, Reuters reports. "[The] best-case scenario I can tell you is [the film will be released] 2006. It is a big movie, and we would rather play it safe and talk about 2007 at this point," Marvel's film chief Avi Arad told Reuters. Spider-Man was the highest grossing film of 2002, amassing over $800 million in worldwide ticket sales, and it still holds the box office record for the biggest three-day domestic debut ever with $115 million in ticket sales. Spider-Man 2 is set to hit theaters July 2.
Basinger, Baldwin Settle Child Custody Dispute
Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin resolved their child custody battle over their 8-year-old daughter, Ireland, The Associated Press reports. Baldwin, who lives in New York, was seeking an "equal share" of parenting with Basinger, who lives in California, while the actress was asking for sole custody, with visitation rights for Baldwin. A Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Baldwin, the television program Celebrity Justice reported.
Spielberg Sidesteps Passion Questions
Steven Spielberg is not responding to questions about Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. At a press conference to promote the DVD release of his Oscar-winning Holocaust movie Schindler's List, Reuters reports the director said he was "too smart" to answer any questions about the controversial film, which has been called anti-Semitic, since he had yet to see it. "I certainly am not going to comment based on circumstantial evidence from what I've been hearing and feeling in the last seven or eight days," Spielberg said. "When I do see the film, the first person who will hear from me will be Mel Gibson and no one else," he added. Spielberg did comment that in the decade since the release of Schindler's List, the world has become a "very sad place again," which shows that people "don't really learn that much from history, and they need to."
Rowling Gives Hints to Next Book
J.K. Rowling, author of the wildly popular Harry Potter books, says she won't give any secrets away about her last two books in the series but promises fans that even tougher times await the young wizard. "In Book Six, the wizarding world is really at war again and he has to master his own feelings to make himself useful," Reuters reports Rowling said in a live Web chat Thursday. "If personally I was Harry Potter, I would hide because I know what is coming," she said. Rowling also added there would be no prequels. "You won't need them. By the time I've finished you'll have all the back story you need."
NBC Files Countersuit Against Will & Grace Creators
NBC has filed a counterclaim to Will & Grace creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick's lawsuit, in which they allege the network shortchanged them in renewing the hit sitcom. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network, in turn, accused the duo of being "duplicitous" in their dealings at the negotiation table. NBC's cross-complaint maintains that Kohan and Mutchnick and their "handlers" had always planned to sue the network over the license fee deal struck in 2002 for Will & Grace, even though NBC claims they involved the creators and their attorneys and agents in the license fee renegotiations that took place in late 2001 and early 2002.
UPN Signs Up Missy Elliot
Calling all aspiring rappers. UPN announced it will launch a new "dramality" series tentatively called the Missy Elliott Project, in which the superstar rapper will tour the country with a group of aspiring rap stars, advising them as they compete in weekly elimination challenges as well as meeting industry bigwigs while the show's cameras chronicle their every move, Reuters reports.
DeGeneres Tops Daytime Emmy Nominations
Ellen DeGeneres' new talk show was nominated for 12 Daytime Emmy Awards, the most of any daytime talk show, AP reports, including best host. Joining her in that category are Dr. Phil McGraw; Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa of Live!; and The View crew of Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar and Barbara Walters. Vieira was also nominated for best game show host for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and will compete against veterans Bob Barker of The Price is Right and Alex Trebek of Jeopardy!. The Young and the Restless led the soap opera pack with 16 nods, All My Children and As the World Turns earned 14 apiece, with 12 for General Hospital and Guiding Light. The 31st annual Daytime Emmy Awards are set to air on NBC May 21 from New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Newest Batman Shooting Now
Memento director Christopher Nolan has commenced production in Iceland on his highly anticipated superhero feature Batman Begins. The film stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman; Michael Caine as his trusted butler, Alfred; Katie Holmes as Wayne's childhood friend, Rachel; Liam Neeson as Wayne's mentor, Henri Ducard; Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, a former Wayne Enterprises board member and sidelined employee; Ken Watanabe as the villainous Ra's Al Ghul; and Gary Oldman, who just signed on as Lt. James Gordon, a detective on the Gotham police force.