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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.
4

2008

The Oranges Leighton Meester
1. "The Beaver" - Kyle Killen
Initially linked to Steve Carell, the film was eventually directed by Jodie Foster, starring Mel Gibson as the depressive who becomes controlled by his therapeutic beaver puppet. But the film was released not long after Gibson's racist phone calls were leaked, and it died at the box office as a result.

2. "The Oranges" - Jay Reiss & Ian Helfer
Premiering at TIFF in 2011, this indie comedy was directed by TV helmer Julian Farino, with Hugh Laurie, Leighton Meester, Catherine Keener, Allison Janney and Oliver Platt among the cast. But word was lukewarm, and it only slunk into theaters this October.  

3. "Butter" - Jason Micallef
Boy, not a great year for the Black LIst , this one. "Butter" became a hot property, and the political satire was unveiled by the Weinstein Company at TIFF in 2011, directed by British helmer Jim Field-Smith, with the cast including Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Hugh Jackman, Olivia Wilde and Rob Corddry. Curiously, it hit theaters the same day as "The Oranges," and actually did worse -- taking only $100K to the other film's $300K.

4. "Big Hole" - Michael Gilio
A modern day Western about an elderly WW2 vet-turned-rancher who sets off in search of a man who ripped him off. Gore Verbinski attached himself to direct, but it never moved forward.

No Strings Attached
5. "The Low Dweller" - Brad Inglesby
Initially eyed by Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio, the film finally got before cameras this year, under the new title "Out Of The Furnace." Scott Cooper ("Crazy Heart") directs, with Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker and Sam Shepard among the excellent cast. Ingelsby's latest script, "Hold On To Me," will shoot next year with Robert Pattinson and Carey Mulligan

6. "Fuckbuddies" - Liz Meriwether
A genuinely funny comedy about sex friends, "Fuckbuddies" was gutted, had the edges filed down and PG-13ified to become terrible Natalie Portman/Ashton Kutcher comedy "No Strings Attached." Don't weep too much for Liz Meriwether though; she's the creator and showrunner of hit Tv sitcom "New Girl"

7. "Winter's Discontent" - Paul Fruchbom
A comedy about a sexully  frustrated 70something in a retirement home, Paul Fruchbom's script was picked up by Columbia back in 2008, and Larry Charles came on to direct the next year, but it never seemed to get any further

Broken City, Wahlberg
8. "Broken City" - Brian Tucker
Thought by many to be too dark to ever get made, "Chinatown"-esque noir "Broken City" finally hits theaters next month, with Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Kyle Chandler and Catherine Zeta-Jones starring in a film directed by Allen Hughes. Will it have been toned down? We'll find out in a few weeks.

9. "I'm With Cancer" - Will Reiser
After a difficult production -- director Nicole Holofcener and star James McAvoy dropped out -- this comedy, eventually retitled "50/50," and based on Reiser's real-life experiences, went before cameras thanks to director Jonathan Levine, and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick. It was well reviewed, but had disappointing box office.

10. "Our Brand Is Crisis" - Peter Straughan
A remake of the 2005 documentary about  U.S. campaign consultants at work in the Bolivian presidential election of 2002, this was set up at George Clooney's Smoke House, with "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" writer Peter Straughan, who also penned "The Men Who Stared At Goats" for Clooney, penning the script. There's been no word since it was originally announced, but as "Argo" proved, there's always a chance it could come back around.

This article is related to: Features, Black List


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