The Black List

The Black List

I did the whole film school thing – but not until I was 26 – when I got divorced. Jacked my old life and just went for it. I’m heavily tattooed, white, Irish trailer trash. Didn’t know anybody in the business whatsoever, nobody famous, nada, nout, zero, naught, nothing. And, apart from the lasting friendships formed, film school was fucking waste of time! Spent years being lied to, being skint, sleeping on people’s floors. Did every shit job imaginable – anything to pay the rent. We’ve all done it, I know. Only thing I got from it was learning that if you want it, you have to do it yourself. Actually, a little caveat to that: the editor on my current gig was actually in my class at film school – so retrospectively I guess I did get something out of it (19 years later). Now, I’m a jobbing director – been fortunate enough to have worked on some pretty funky high-end TV shows like Atlantis, Merlin, Being Human, Robin Hood, and Wire in the Blood. I’ve also done more than my fair share of the shite TV stuff – and everything in between. As my transition into features, I’d written this contained Irish revenge thriller called Broken Cove. Spent 18 months or so trying to get it airborne – and when the finance fell through for the umpteenth time, I just said “Fuck it.”

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Black List 2013

As their press release reminds, 3 out of 5 of the most recent Best Picture winners and 7 out of 12 of the most recent Best Screenplay winners were all feature on The Black List before being picked up for production. When it comes to prestige titles, the annual survey of the best liked, unproduced scripts is peerless. Of course, their batting average comes naturally, considering that they’re asking hundreds of insiders for their favorite stuff. Some of those favorites are bound to get made and some are bound to be stellar. Which puts the view of Hollywood executives as idiots who can only churn out sequels, superheroes and reboots into question. Or, at the very least, it puts their balancing act of riding tentpoles in order to create an adult drama or two into stark relief. This year’s Black List is dominated by biographies, Hollywood stories (of course) and a giant shark that won’t work.

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Kill Your Darlings

Donning some sweet spectacles again, Daniel Radcliffe returns to theaters this upcoming Wednesday as beat poet Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings. The actor joins us to talk about finding that character and the hunt for great material. Continuing that theme, Black List founder Franklin Leonard speaks with us in an extended interview on the website’s 1st birthday as an outlet for aspiring writers to be discovered and receive feedback from industry professionals. What successes they’ve faced, what challenges lie ahead, and what changes we’ll see in year two. All coming up on today’s program as well as some advice from Geoff on knowing whether you’re ready to have your work read by the big dogs. You should follow The Black List (@theblcklst),Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #37 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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The Black List

Over the years, the term “Black List script” has become much more prevalent when it comes to the reporting of new projects, thanks to the increased awareness of Franklin Leonard‘s annual list, one that just seems to balloon as the years go by. So just what is on this year’s list? Well, a lot of stuff we’ve already heard of. This year’s list was “compiled from the suggestions over 290 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, 2012 and will not have completed principal photography during this calendar year.” To keep things a bit slimmed down (this list is not even remotely slimmed down), each script had to receive at least six votes in order to be eligible. The list was announced via The Black List‘s official Twitter earlier this morning. Of the 78 picks that made the list, 50 of the films are already in some form of production or are already financed (here’s a nifty trick – if a film listing contains a slug for “Production” or “Financier” that baby is already in production or financed for prouduction). Oh, for the days of truly “unproduced” screenplays. The top pick, Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman’s Draft Day, has already gotten plenty of heat, thanks to past rumors that Kevin Costner was attached to star in it. The project is currently in turnaround at Paramount, but we suspect that will change […]

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Morten Tyldum

If you’ve yet to check out Norwegian director Morten Tyldum’s 2011 release, Headhunters, then it’s high time you tracked it down and finally gave it a go. Not only is it one of the most brutal, gross, unique, and exciting action thrillers that have come out in a long time, but you’re also going to need to know what Tyldum is capable of in order to properly get excited for the news that he’s just signed on to make another movie. Deadline reports that his new project is called The Imitation Game, and it’s coming from a Black List script by Graham Moore that was adapted from an Alan Turing biography that Andrew Hodges wrote called “Alan Turing: The Enigma.” The film was originally set to be made by Warner Bros., with J Blakeson on to direct and rumors that Leonardo DiCaprio would star, but the studio dropped the project back in August. For those that might not know, Turing was a pretty interesting guy whose rich life could make for good movie fodder in a number of ways. Just take a look at the source material’s Amazon description, which states: “Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936–the concept of a universal machine–laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a […]

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The Black List 2012

Movie geeks (and screenplay wonks in particular) have become increasingly aware of The Black List over the past few years, the annual “survey” of hundreds of film industry professionals who vote on their favorite unproduced screenplays. While inclusion on the list doesn’t necessarily guarantee a script’s quality, it does carry with it a certain cache value and respectability. But the Black List isn’t the only survey in the game, with Kailey A. Marsh‘s Blood List picking up the genre slack and utilizing a similar style and method to recognize the “most-liked unproduced screenplays in the horror, thriller, sci-fi and dark comedy/drama genres.” Just in time for the year’s spookiest holiday (forgive us for that one), Marsh has revealed the top 13 scripts on this year’s Blood List. Unsurprisingly, the top vote-getter is Tyler Marceca‘s The Disciple Program, which was snapped up by Universal back in May. The project is already set to star Mark Wahlberg and will be directed by Headhunters helmer Morten Tyldum. Described as “a Manchurian Candidate-style thriller,” the film will center on Wahlberg’s character who, after his wife dies, “discovers it was no accident.” The rest of the list is rounded out by a nice mix of different genres and tropes (yup, there are aliens, vampires, demons, and serial killers aplenty), and it certainly includes projects for just about every film fan’s tastes (personally, we’d love to see Country of Strangers right now). Check out the full list of Blood List winners (and their current status) after the break, thanks to Variety. Want to pick up […]

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The Black List

As it says on its website, The Black List — the annual guide to the most well-liked unproduced screenplays floating around Hollywood — is responsible for over 200 scripts getting made into films. The unique project was created by Franklin Leonard, a production executive working up until recently for Overbrook Entertainment, who drops the listing every year on the second Friday in December. In the past, it’s been a useful tool for both writers who want to get their work noticed and executives who want to find something worth making. If there’s been any true critique of The Black List, it’s that it’s too insular. As Slate’s David Haglund noted in 2011, it’s a project that celebrates work that’s already made its way inside the impossibly closed circle of the Hollywood studio system. Perhaps in response to that criticism (but probably born more from a broader, higher ideal), Leonard didn’t wait until Christmas to unveil a new mission: to open the Black List to everyone. If you’re an aspiring screenwriter, The Black List is now a machine for getting your work read by the right people. For $25 a month, per script, they’ll host your work in a database where 1200+ professionals (studio and non) will be able to read it, propelled by an algorithm of ratings. Obviously, nothing like this has been tried before, but because it’s such an exciting initiative, it also demands a high level of scrutiny. To that end, Leonard has penned a lengthy piece explaining his […]

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Kid Cudi

Generally people in the hip hop world like to be seen as more than just rappers, or DJs, or whatever. In order to make it big in the hip hop world you have to be seen as a triple, quadruple, or fivetuple threat. So seeing as he’s already branched out from making hip hop, to producing hip hop, to having a rock band, to acting in TV’s How to Make It in America, Kid Cudi (aka Scott Mescudi) should be well on his way to being the next big mogul, especially now that he’s taking his acting career further by seeking out film roles. The latest part he’s landed is in debut director Max Nichol’s upcoming romantic comedy Two Night Stand, which tells the story of two people who agree to have a sleazy one night stand finding themselves put in the awkward position of being snowed in and having to spend more time together. No, Cudi isn’t playing the lead—as a matter of fact his role as the boyfriend of the female protagonist’s best friend doesn’t sound like it will probably amount to much screen time at all—but there are a couple x-factors here that point to the fact that Two Night Stand might be the perfect vehicle for Cudi to dip his toe into the film world and show off what he has to offer as a comedic actor.

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Though he can reportedly be a bit of a handful to work with, whenever director David O. Russell manages to get along with everyone long enough to actually get a movie made, the results are usually pretty intriguing. And ever since his 2010 film, The Fighter, crossed over into the mainstream and became a financial success, he’s become a personality whose moves everyone is watching very closely. He currently has two films in post-production, a strange-sounding project about a waitress with a nail in her head who takes her cause to Washington D.C. called Nailed, and a movie about an ex-mental patient trying to make his life right called The Silver Linings Playbook. That’s a lot to have on your plate already, but it doesn’t look like he’s waiting for those films to hit theaters before he lines up his next job. THR is reporting that Russell has signed on to helm a script from the 2012 Black List called American Bullshit. Written by Eric Warren Singer, American Bullshit tells the true story of a sting operation that the F.B.I. put together to root out corruption in congress back in 1980. Internally called Abscam, the undercover operation was conceived for authorities by a man who is described as being “the world’s greatest con man.”

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Devil in the White City

Leonardo DiCaprio and his production outfit Appian Way have been sitting on the rights to the novel The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic And Madness At The Fair That Changed America for quite a while, with intents to eventually get it made with DiCaprio himself starring as the main character Dr. H.H. Holmes. Holmes was a serial killer from the late 1800s, a twisted freak who built a murderous funhouse of a hotel that contained a gas chamber, a crematorium, and a dissection table… amongst other things, which led to him capturing and murdering anywhere between thirty to a couple hundred people during the Chicago World’s Fair. There’s movement on the project now, as DiCaprio and his people have sold the rights to Warner Bros. and are going to team up with the studio to produce. The first step to actually making a movie is to get a script, so to that end Warners has hired Graham Moore to do an adaptation. You might recognize Moore’s name, because he recently made some waves when his script The Imitation Game was named at the top of the 2011 Black List. And in addition to being a hot screenwriter, he’s also a native Chicagoan, which makes him kind of perfect for this project.

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