A Look At The 2013 Brit List, The U.K. Answer To The Black List

Features
by Oliver Lyttelton
March 23, 2013 1:56 PM
3 Comments
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For the last few years, in an attempt to get the same kind of boost for unmade screenplays as the Black List has managed in the U.S., the Brit List has been published; a smaller survey of development executives who pick out their favorite as-yet-unproduced scripts, and vote for the best.

It's not the same immediate signifier of success as the Black List, but scripts like "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" and "Lawless" all got their start on the list, and it's always a useful thing to see what's coming down the pipe. The 2013 list (it skipped out on 2012, for some reason) was unveiled yesterday on Screen Daily, and as we've done in the past, we've dug into the list to reveal a little more details on the whats and whos. You can take a look below. 

Seven Votes

"The Survivalist" by Stephen Fingleton
A veteran, like Christopher Nolan, of University College London's Film Society, Stephen Fingleton's a Northern Irish writer/director with a few acclaimed shorts under his belt (his next stars "Game Of Thrones" actor Liam Cunningham). His script "The Survivalist" has already landed on the Black List, and is this year's winner of the Brit List, with seven votes. It's set in an apocalyptic future, where the titular survivalist comes across a mother, and her teenage daughter, who are looking for shelter. Producers Wayne Godfrey ("Strippers vs. Werewolves") and Robert Jones ("Hard Eight," "Centurion") are attached through their company The Fizz Facility. 

Six Votes

"A Tale Of Two Cities" by David Farr
There's always one high-profile literary adaptation on the Brit List, and this year, it's a new version of Charles Dickens' "A Tale Of Two Cities." Dickens is very much in the zeitgeist at the moment, thanks to multiple versions of "Great Expectations" and Ralph Fiennes' biopic "The Invisible Woman," but it's 55 years since "A Tale Of Two Cities" came to the screen (though Terry Gilliam nearly made a version with Mel Gibson; Leonardo DiCaprio was developing a take written by "House of Cards" scribe Beau Willimon; and the book was a major inspiration for "The Dark Knight Rises"). Will this new one break the duck? The script comes from David Farr, a playwright and theater director best known for co-writing Joe Wright's "Hanna." It's being developed by BBC Films and Origin Pictures ("The Awakening"), and no director's currently attached. 

Five Votes

"Invasion" by Joe Barton
Joe Barton might not have many credits at this point, his major prior gigs being a pair of teen series, the online-only "Freak," and E4's "Beaver Falls." But given that "Invasion," a sci-fi tinged psychological thriller set in America, is being developed by Raw ("The Imposter') and Film4, expect to see him around a lot more.

"Trigger" by Lindsay Shapero
Best known at this point for penning "Enid," a BBC TV film which starred Helena Bonham-Carter as the author of "The Famous Five" books. She's got several projects in development, including punk-era drama "Typical Girls" at Warp, and a pair of projects for German director Volker Schlondorff. But she's on the list for "Trigger," an adaptation of young adult novelist Susan Vaught's book of the same name, about a young man who tried to kill himself, but can't remember why. It's had development funding from the BFI, and is set up at Met Films.

"What We Did On Our Holiday" by Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton
"Outnumbered" is one of the most popular and acclaimed U.K. TV comedies of the last few years, and while "What We Did On Our Holiday" isn't a direct spin-off, writers Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton haven't departed too far from the playbook for that show. The film's expected to be semi-improvised like the series and focus on two harassed parents and their three troublesome children as they go on a road trip to Scotland to visit their grandfather. Origin and BBC Films are backing the project.

"Your Voice In My Head" by Emma Forrest
One of our Screenwriters On The Rise picks back in 2010, Emma Forrest based this script on her own memoir, which focuses on the relationship she had with the psychiatrist she credits with saving her life. The film was close to production last year, with David Yates directing Emma Watson and Stanley Tucci. Yates dropped out, however, followed by Watson, but the film remains in development at Ruby Films and Warner Bros., with Tucci still on board, and Emily Blunt joining him recently. 

Four Votes

"Son Of Man" by Hania Elkington
Like Forrest, Hania Elkington's been on the list before: she figured back in 2010 with the script "Letters From America," co-written with her sister Gaia. A one-time associate agent at major U.K. talent agency United Agents, she's also been writing a TV drama called "Jukebox" for Ridley Scott's company and has "True Fox," an adaptation of a Kelly Link short story, in the works at Mandeville Films, but makes the list for original screenplay "Son Of Man," a comedy-drama about an obese teenage boy who becomes a man thanks to an antenatal class for pregnant teens. 

Three Votes

"Bummer" by Andrew Yerlett
The writer of several acclaimed shorts, including the upcoming "Gutpunch," Andrew Yerlett has multiple projects in the works, including musical western "Junior High Noon" (which has "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman" helmer Frederik Bond attached to direct), and Christmas comedy "The Naughty List." But his most recent is "Bummer," a teen comedy about a young couple who discover that their parents are getting engaged to each other and set out to stop the wedding. Escape Films are developing the film, with backing from the BFI.

"Competition" by Sean Buckley and Martina Amati
Like previous Black List entrants Jack Thorne and Ben Schiffer, Sean Buckley is a playwright who's spent much of the last few years as a writer on TV series "Skins." He's been adapting novel "Corpo Libero," but gets on the list here thanks to this collaboration with rising Italian-born director Martina Amati (who won the BAFTA for short film in 2010 for "I Do Air."). Like her most recent film "Chalk," it's a coming-of-age story set in the world of gymnastics. Cowboy Films, who've worked on most of Kevin Macdonald's recent films, are working with Film4 on it.

"Driven" by David Leon and Rashid Razaq
David Leon is clearly something of a polymath; the 31-year-old's had some success as an actor, thanks to appearances in things like "Cutting It," "RockNRolla" and "Vera," but he's also been carving out a career behind the camera too. His directorial debut, "Orthodox," starring Stephen Graham, starts shooting next week, but he makes the list for this autobiographical drama, co-written with journalist and playwright Rashid Razaq. "Misfits" actor Iwan Rheon and Peter Capaldi are attached to star.

"Futures" by Rob Green
Starting off as an editor, Rob Green's been making a name for himself in the horror side of things, directing WWII chiller "The Bunker" in 2001, and penning some not-yet-made scripts, including a sequel to Neil Marshall's "Dog Soldiers" and the excellently-titled "Gladiators Vs. Werewolves: Edge Of Empire." This is a sci-fi film set in the financial center of London, and is in development at genre-specialists Starchild Pictures.

"Harry's Blonde" by Caradog James
Welsh writer-director Caradog James won a handful of BAFTAs for his feature debut, the low-key comedy-drama "Little White Lies" back in 2006, but he's got more ambitious since; he just made his second feature with sci-fi "The Machine," starring Toby Stephens, and gets on the list with this horror-comedy about a teenage boy caught between a pair of serial killers. It's in the works over at Dan Films ("Severance," the upcoming "Creeping Zero").

"Posh" by Laura Wade

This adaptation of the stage hit looks to be closest to production of anything on this list; "An Education" helmer Lone Scherfig is on board to direct, and Max Irons was recently cast in the project, with Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth and Robert Pattinson also linked to it. It focuses on the members of the Riot Club, a privileged and secretive organization at a top university (modeled on the real-life Bullingdon Club). The film marks Wade's first produced screenplay, but she's also developing "One Last Time" with the BFI.

"Second Coming" by Debbie Tucker Green
Like Wade, a playwright who emerged in part thanks to the Royal Court Theatre in London, Debbie Tucker Green came to prominence with shows like "Born Bad" and "Stoning Mary," and she won acclaim for TV drama "Random" in 2011. "Second Coming" reunites her with Film4 and Hillbilly Films, who produced that, and follows a woman who gets pregnant despite not having sex with her husband, or anyone else. It's being developed with the Sundance Institute, which is promising, and will be directed by Green herself.

"Trivial Pursuits" by Tom Nash
We can't find much about Tom Nash, who seems to be right at the start of his career. He's got one other script, "POW!" in the works at Embargo Pictures, which has also picked up this thriller, about a hitman who befriends the children of his purported victims, to be directed by Barnaby Southcombe ("I, Anna"). Again, it has some backing from the BFI.


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3 Comments

  • Matt | March 23, 2013 2:09 PMReply

    Interesting. Percentage-wise, a much better list for women.

  • berk | March 23, 2013 11:08 PM

    That's because Sasha Stone doesn't cover Black List screenplays from the UK.

  • Shebang | March 23, 2013 3:15 PM

    You're not gonna hear Sasha Stone kick up a positive fuss about that one.

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