The Black List is a riveting annual account of the best unproduced screenplays in the world of cinema.
The screenplays cover a plethora of genres, and make up the best of what is to offer for directors and distribution companies around the world to produce for the cinema-going public. The list is immensely influential in the movie world and a proportion of the writers on it can hope to see their work on the big screen in the near future. Last year’s list included the forthcoming sci-fi blockbuster The Hunger Games, Brit-flick rom-com One Day, and Ben Affleck’s third directorial effort, Argo, among others produced this year.
2011’s Black List is rich and varied, touching on all aspects of modern cinema, including sexuality, politics, comedy and history. One of the scripts on the list has already gone into production; Quentin Tarantino’s slave drama Django Unchained. I’ve picked a few of my favourites:-
The Imitation Game by Graham Moore tells the story of a British WWII cryptographer Alan Turing, who was heralded for his works with German codes in the war, but following his prosecution for homosexuality, ended his own life.
There is more than an air of Powell & Pressburger about this synopsis, and one that, in the right hands, could become an extremely inspiring film.
Chewie, by Evan Suser and Van Robichaux is a satirical look at the making of Star Wars through the eyes of Peter Mayhew, the gargantuan actor who played the much-loved Chewbacca.
The enduring fandom surrounding Star Wars should get this screenplay some attention, and the casting alone should be interesting.
The End, by Aron Eli Coleite, provides the sci-fi meat of the list, concerned with four people-a veteran broadcaster in London, a sixteen-year old girl and her boyfriend in Michigan, and a devoted family man in Shanghai-who each try to make peace with their lives before the end of the world.
Babel meets 2012 via Melancholia, anyone?
Grace of Monaco, by Arash Amel, focusses on Grace Kelly post acting career as she prepares to be a full-time princess. She uses her political manoeuvring to ensure Monaco’s standing as a tax haven.
One for the jet-set, and, with the right soundtrack could be very cool. Who’ll play Grace Kelly, though?
Desperate Hours, by E. Nicholas Mariani, is a screenplay concerned with a small town crippled by the First World War and the Spanish flu, finding itself facing major moral questions and a brutal invading force when a young girl shows up on a rancher’s doorstep covered in blood.
Personally, I find this premise fascinating, and with Johnny Depp’s production company Infinitum Nihil having picked this up, I’m campaigning for Robert Rodriguex to direct.
77, by David Matthews, is a script that covers two stories inextricably linked; the unsolved murder of a LAPD officer and the nationally televised shotout in South Los Angeles between the members of the Symbionese Liberation Army and the LAPD in which 50,000 rounds of gunfire were exchanged.
Historically interesting, thematically striking, this screenplay is the one I’m most looking forward to seeing at the cinema.
The Black List is not a definite springboard to the silver screen, but it showcases unpublished writers, impressive concepts and the work of established ones. There are many promising and exciting stories on the list, and in the next twelve months it will be interesting to see which, if any, make the grade.