The Black List is a collection of unproduced scripts that have the most potential according to hundreds of film executives in Hollywood. Scripts that make the list have gone on to become big awards contenders such as I, Tonya, All the Money in the World, and Spotlight. The list also includes scripts for wider appeal films such as Rough Night or American Made, and riskier films like Netflix's horror-comedy The Babysitter or My Friend Dahmer, which screened at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival this year. Not every script that makes the list gets made and they are always successes, take Pan for example. This year, 76 scripts made The Black List by getting six or more executives to select them. Below are a few of the most liked scripts and some I found interesting. The full list can be found here.
The top pick this year comes from Matthew and Ryan Firpo, telling the story of an ex-Nazi captain hunting down and killing his former SS death squad in the ruins of Germany after World War II. 68 film executives expressed interest in the script, 20 more than any film in previous years. I think it is safe to say you can expect to see Ruin in the near future.
Let Her Speak
True stories and biopics typically do well on The Black List, such as Stronger, The Founder, LBJ, and countless others. Let Her Speak is the true story of Senator Wendy Davis filibustering for 24 hours to save abortion clinics in Texas. A true story on a hot-button topic, it is no surprise that this was the second most liked script on the list. Two other scripts, Call Jane and This is Jane, also tackle the abortion issue.
It appears the success of Atomic Blonde has sparked Hollywood's interest in stories centering on female assassins. The Mother, Ruthless, Kate, and Ballerina all feature a lady killer. Most liked of the four scripts is The Mother written by Misha Green (Underground, Sons of Anarchy). An assassin must come out of hiding to protect the daughter she gave up.
Based on a short story of the same name by Gone Girl author, Gillian Flynn, The Grownup features a con artist posing as an aura reader hired to remove evil spirits from a woman's house. She very quickly finds herself in over her head. This sounds more straightforward than all the plot twists in Gone Girl, but still an interesting plot.
"In 1951, a manufacturing company stirs up curiosity when they publish a user’s manual to a time machine called Gadabout TM1050." Simple as that, I'm there for anything time travel related. Time travel can be hit or miss, but I'm hoping this is one of those films that really twist your brain and make you think.
Two women catfish ISIS trying to get money for their start-up, leading to the CIA using them as spies. This sounds like a hilarious comedy, perhaps suitable for Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza or Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer from Broad City.
Rodney & Sheryl
A true story about serial killer Rodney Alcala going on The Dating Game during his killing spree and winning a date. This is the type of story you just can't write. Looking into the thought process of serial killers always makes for fascinating stories, and it will be intriguing to learn what Alcala was thinking going on national TV.
There are so many other interesting premises and stories among this year's selections, so make sure you check out the full list. If you are interested in biopics, there are scripts covering pop culture icons John Hughes, J.K. Rowling, and David Prowse (Darth Vader), or other famous figures like Michael Jordan and Elon Musk. Fans of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri may find Breaking News in Yuba County and Kill Shelter of interest. Let me know what your favorites on the list were in the comments.