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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.


Ides of March
1. "Recount" - Danny Strong
Shot by Jay Roach as an HBO movie later that year, starring Kevin Spacey, Denis Leary, Tom Wilkinson and Laura Dern, "Recount" won three Emmys. Strong later penned "Game Change" and next year's Lee Daniels movie "The Butler"

2. "Farragut North" - Beau Willimon
Retitled "The Ides Of March," this adaptation of Willimon's own play reached screens last year directed by George Clooney, and starring Ryan Gosling, winning Willimon an Oscar nod. He's now working on David Fincher's "House of Cards" series.

3. "Passengers" - Jon Spaihts
A sci-fi about a lone man accidentally woken up on a hundred-year space journey, this attracted the attention of Keanu Reeves, who hired "Seven Pounds" director Gabriele Muccino to direct. It's not yet happened, but may still be brewing. Spaihts, meanwhile, penned the first draft of what became "Prometheus," and is currently working on "The Mummy" reboot. 

David Oyelowo
4. "Infiltrator" - Josh Zetumer
Zetumer returned to the list with this spy thriller, an assignment for Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way company, about an embedded British spy in the IRA in the 1990s. DiCaprio was also set to star, but it's yet to go before cameras

5. "Selma" - Paul Webb
Following Martin Luther King on the famous Selma civil rights march, this script came within a breath of being directed by Lee Daniels, with David Oyelowo, Hugh Jackman, Liam Neeson, Lenny Kravitz and Robert De Niro involved. But financing collapsed at the last minute, though Oyelowo said earlier this year that he hopes the film will rack up again.  

6. "Curveball" - Steven Knight
A based-in-fact thriller about the faulty information that led to the war on Iraq, this thriller from "Eastern Promises" writer Steven Knight never got any talent publicly attached to it. But Knight's working with Focus, who snapped the earlier script up, at the moment on similarly topical subject matter, with thriller "Closed Circuit" due for release next August.

7. "I Want To Fuck Your Sister" - Melissa Stack
Comedy about a man whose sister does an internship at his company, only for every single man to try and bed her. Given the title, it's not surprising that it's yet to move forward, but Stack's had other gigs, including a Jennifer Aniston comedy called "Pumas" and a "First Wives Club"-type comedy at Fox.

The Way, Way Back Sam Rockwell
8. "The Road" - Joe Penhall
Shot by John Hillcoat, and released in 2009, this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's brutal apocalyptic novel starred Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron.

9. "The Way Back" - Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Initially lost in development hell, this script got a second lease of life when Faxon & Rash (stars of TV comedies "Ben & Kate" and "Community") won an Oscar for "The Descendants" earlier this year. Now retitled "The Way Way Back," the coming-of-age story is directed by the writers, stars Steve Carell, Toni Colette and Sam Rockwell, and will premiere at Sundance.

10. "This Side Of The Truth" - Matt Robinson
Co-directed by Robinson and Ricky Gervais, this fantastical comedy was retitled "The Invention of Lying," aseembled an amazing comedy cast, and went on to screw the pooch entirely; it's a textbook example of how to let down a good script in execution.

This article is related to: Features, Black List

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