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The Black List: Where Are The Top Scripts Of Previous Years Now?

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist December 17, 2012 at 4:01PM

One of the cannier inventions of the movie world in the last decade or so is The Black List, set up by Franklin Leonard, at the time an junior executive at Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way company. Appropriating one of Hollywood's greatest shames (the banning from work of professionals -- mostly screenwriters -- with communist leanings) for good, with the intention of highlighting the best unmade scripts from Hollywood, Leonard polled executives for the best things they'd read that year, launching the first list in 2005.
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Black List Where Are They Now

One of the cannier inventions of the movie world in the last decade or so is The Black List, set up by Franklin Leonard, at the time a junior executive at Leonardo DiCaprio's production company Appian Way. Appropriating the name from one of Hollywood's greatest shames (the banning from work of professionals -- mostly screenwriters -- with communist leanings during the '50s and '60s) for good, with the intention of highlighting the best unmade scripts from Hollywood, Leonard polled executives for the best things they'd read that year, launching the first list in 2005.

Over the years, The Black List has launched several major scripts into production, and helped to give major boosts to writers both new and old, while Leonard recently launched a new version of the site that enables aspiring writers to have their work read by industry professionals, and hopefully bought up. But it's the annual list that is still the big draw, and the eighth should be announced very, very soon.

So with that in mind, we thought it'd be interesting to look over the top 10 scripts from each past year, and work out what happened to the films that placed high on each one. Some went on to win Oscars, some were barely heard of again, and most landed somewhere in between. It's clear from looking over the lists that a high placement on the Black List is no guarantee of success, but we're still grateful that it exists as a showcase of new talent, and we're excited about seeing this year's batch. While you wait, take a look at where previous winners and runners up are now.

2005

Things We Lost In The Fire
1. "Things We Lost In The Fire" - Allan Loeb
Drama about a grieving widow who falls into a romance with her late husband's no-good best friend. Filmed in 2007 by Susanna Bier, with Benicio Del Toro and Halle Berry, but mostly overshadowed on release.

2. "Juno" - Diablo Cody
You might have heard of this one. A sparky, moving teen comedy directed by Jason Reitman, that went on to pick up multiple Oscar nominations, including winning Cody an Oscar.

3. "Lars And The Real Girl" - Nancy Oliver
Comedy-drama about a disturbed young man convinced he's in a relationship with a doll. Shot in 2007 by Craig Gillespie, starring Ryan Gosling, and became a modest little indie success, picking up an Oscar nomination for writer Nancy Oliver.

Marc Webb
4. "Only Living Boy in New York" - Allan Loeb
The first of the initial batch not to make it to the screens, this is a coming-of-age tale from the omnipresent Loeb ("The Dilemma," "Here Comes The Boom"), about a New York college student who discovers his father is having an affair, only to fall for the same woman. Seth Gordon ("Horrible Bosses") was attached to it for a while, with Logan Lerman linked to star, but more recently, Marc Webb came on to direct, though if it happens, it won't be til after his "Spider-Man" sequel

5. "Charlie Wilson's War" - Aaron Sorkin
Released in 2007, directed by Mike Nichols, and starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.

6. "The Kite Runner" - David Benioff
Directed by Marc Forster, the adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's best-selling Afghanistan-set novel made it to theaters in 2007. It picked up decent reviews, but didn't make much of an impact otherwise.

7. "Fanboys" - Adam Goldberg
This long-delayed comedy about a group of nerdy friends who accompany their terminally ill best friend on a mission to break into Lucasfilm to see 'The Phantom Menace" before he dies suffered from Harvey Weinstein's interference (he tried to cut the terminal illness out), and finally slunk into theaters in 2009, without many noticing.

Against All Enemies
8. "The Power Of Duff" - Stephen Belber
Written by playwright Stephen Belber ("Tape"), this comedy-drama about a TV news anchor grieving from his father's death, who finds his prayers becoming answered, was set back in 2005 to reteam Russell Crowe and Ron Howard. The film never happened, but Belber revived it as a play this summer, with a brief run starring Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Westfeldt.

9. "Against All Enemies" - Jamie Vanderbilt
An adaptation of the memoirs by counter-terrorism czar Richard A. Clarke, peaking behind the curtain of the war on terror, the script (from "Zodiac" scribe Vanderbilt) was initially set to be Paul Haggis' follow-up to "Crash," with Sean Penn and Vince Vaughn coming on board. But it was killed when Penn vehicle "All The King's Men" died, and while Robert Redford tried to revive it a year later, it was unsuccessful

10. "A Killing On Carnival Row" - Travis Beacham
A noirish murder-mystery set in a steampunk fantasy city, this script swiftly attracted the attention of Guillermo Del Toro, and then Neil Jordan, but never made it into production. Tarsem came on board last year to helm, so we may yet see, while writer Beacham reteamed with Del Toro for next year's mega-blockbuster "Pacific Rim."

This article is related to: Features, Black List


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