Black List

Craig Gillespie’s career as a director has been an interesting one so far. He made the Ryan Gosling-starring indie drama Lars and the Real Girl, which was gutsy, unique, and acclaimed enough that you would think it would have been his first shot fired in a quick and easy takeover of the indie film world. But that’s not the story at all. Lars and the Real Girl wasn’t Gillespie’s debut film that we’re all eagerly awaiting a followup to, it was his second film, and it’s sandwiched in between the mainstream and pretty mediocre fare Mr. Woodcock and Fright Night (you know, the remake). What’s with the strange disparity? And what direction can we expect Gillespie’s career to take in the future? A new report from Variety might give us something of an idea. Apparently the director is in talks to bring to the screen a Black List script (the yearly list of best unproduced screenplays) called Flamingo Thief. Penned by You, Me, and Dupree writer Michael LeSieur and adapted from a novel by Susan Trott, Flamingo Thief tells the story of a lawyer who becomes unhinged after being left by his wife, so he copes by stealing pink flamingo statues out of people’s yards. Despite the fact that his calendar is filled for the immediate future due to his commitments to Anchorman 2 and Three Mississippi, Will Ferrell is attached to star as said litigious thief.

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Here’s a tip, indie producers, cast Zoe Kazan in anything and I’ll buy a ticket. Toss in Jake Johnson and I’m convinced someone cast this film out of my dreams. Deadline Portland reports that Kazan and Johnson will star in Jenee LaMarque‘s Black List script, The Pretty One, which was also a finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship and Zoetrope screenplay contest. LaMarque will also make her directorial debut with the project, which is billed as an “offbeat comedy” that centers on Kazan’s as an “awkward but loveable young woman who is mistaken for her dead ‘perfect’ identical twin, and seizes the chance to masquerade as her sister. But when she falls in love with her twin’s eccentric next door neighbor, she finds herself wanting to live her own imperfect life, and have the truth come out.” Oh, man, sounds wacky! But also lovable…and possibly eccentric. There’s nothing quite like a good mistaken identity romantic comedy, and I’m sure the film will be rife with all sorts of missteps, awkward moments, and near-misses until some big, emotional reveal. Though that all sounds like standard stuff, the heaps of praise that the film’s script has received, along with this rising star cast, hint that perhaps we’re in for a surprise treat. Consider my ticket bought.

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Emma Stone

Things are starting to look up for screenwriter Michael Dillberti. Not only did his screenplay 30 Minutes or Less get made into a pretty high profile comedy last year, but another one of his scripts, Little White Corvette, made it onto this year’s Black List. The list’s description of the movie reads as follows: “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.” Sounds like it has some potential, especially when you factor in that the script already has Emma Stone attached to star. She’s had a year even better than Dillberti’s, starring in the wildly successful The Help and just finishing shooting on superhero tentpole picture The Amazing Spider-Man, and apparently she’s been interested in doing something with Little White Corvette for quite a while now.

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Franklin Leonard’s Black List has become something of a cultural phenomenon, and for good reason. Every year he compiles the list, a compendium of the best scripts that are floating around Hollywood but not getting produced, and creates a media stir by publishing them. This, in turn, makes studio heads give the scripts another look, and many times put the projects into production. Every year the Black List is one of the main ways that we get movies made that aren’t sequels, remakes, or film versions of consumer products that have brand recognition but no inherent storytelling potential; so I am in full support of giving it all the publicity possible. How are titles chosen for the list? According to the list itself, “The Black List was compiled from the suggestions of over 300 film executives, each of whom contributed the names of up to ten of their favorite scripts that were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with, 2011 and will not have begun principal photography during this calendar year.” Topping the list this year, with 133 votes, is a script by Graham Moore called The Imitation Game (a script Warner Bros has the rights to, and that Leonardo DiCaprio has been rumored to be circling). It’s the life story of Alan Turing, who was the British cryptographer that cracked the German Enigma Code in WWII, and who committed suicide later in life after being prosecuted for homosexuality. Those 133 votes make The Imitation Game the big winner, […]

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Franklin Leonard’s “Black List” has become pretty infamous over the years. It’s his yearly compilation of all of the best scripts that are floating around Hollywood and not being produced. Often times, appearing on this list can be the difference between a script that keeps getting passed from hand to hand without really being read and a script that gets an actual look from a studio and starts to get some money behind it. Some of the movies that appeared on the 2010 list that are now in various states of development include Margin Call, Argo, Gangster Squad, and The Hunger Games, among others. Now there’s one more script to be added to the pile of Black List greenlights; Jenni Ross’s Hot Mess. Leonard’s description of Hot Mess is as follows, “Four girlfriends make, and then break, a list of rules devised to get the guys of their dreams and discover their inner hot messes in the process.” Endgame Entertainment is the company that has put the movie into production and they’ve hired The Hitcher director Dave Meyers to helm. But the big news, and the bit of the story that makes it seem like this movie is actually going to happen, is that they’ve attached Selena Gomez to star as one of the four girls. Usually the big piece of the puzzle that starts procuring a potential film funding is a big star attaching themselves to the project, and in Gomez Endgame has found themselves not only a girl […]

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Ness/Capone, as you’ve probably guessed, is a film about Eliot Ness’ hunting of famed gangster Al Capone during the Prohibition era of the 1920s. The story of Ness and Capone has been told plenty of times before, perhaps most notably in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables, but Ness/Capone is said to present its own little twist on the material. The script, written by Grant Pierce Myers, was good enough to make the 2010 Black List of best, unproduced scripts, and it’s said to look at the lives of Ness and Capone with more shades of gray than we’ve seen from the story so far. Rather than Ness being the hero and Capone the villain, Ness/Capone is a more complicated look at the rivals, and it paints Ness as an adrenaline junkie who became addicted to the chase and the infamy that his dealings with Capone brought him. He’s big into bullying bad guys, bedding dames, and showing off for the press. Deadline Lincolnwood is reporting that this unproduced script won’t be able to be called as much for long, as Relativity Media is currently negotiating with director James McTeigue to helm the project and get things moving. McTeigue is best known for stylish actioners like V for Vendetta and Ninja Assassin, so he should be an appropriate choice for this more kinetic, action-packed look at the life of Ness.

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One of director Richard Linklater’s first films, and his big breakthrough, was 1991’s Slacker, a movie about misfit young people in Austin, Texas. Many years and a storied film career later and Linklater finds himself aiming his focus at the youth set once again, but this time he’s looking at a decidedly different subset of the country’s up and comers. College Republicans is a biopic that follows the college careers of conservative political figures Karl Rove and Lee Atwater. Rove and Atwater are divisive figures to be sure, but even their most vicious critics would have to agree that slackers they are not. This might prove to be a chance for Linklater to change up his dreamy, slow moving storytelling style a bit and do something more kinetic and Social Network-y. College Republicans, written by Wes Jones, appeared on the 2010 Black List of best unproduced scripts in Hollywood, and it focuses on the meeting of the Republican brain trust of the past few decades, back when they were in college and Rove was running to become president of the College Republicans. It was during this period that they perfected many of the controversial political strategies that would lead to the duo being prominent figures in the Nixon campaign and both Bush administrations. Despite the fact that Shia LaBeouf was once thought to be attached to this project, now that Linklater has his hands on it, that no longer seems to be the case. Instead, The Wrap is reporting that […]

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