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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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2009

The Social Network Jesse Eisenberg
1. "The Muppet Man" - Christopher Weekes
A surprise winner, this was a biopic of the Muppets creator Jim Henson that attracted the attention of people like Jim Carrey, Leonardo DiCaprio and Hugh Jackman. But the Jim Henson Company, who bought up the script, had problems with the approach, and it's likely to remain unmade. Weekes is currently working on "Ponzi's Scheme" for Milos Forman.

2. "The Social Network" - Aaron Sorkin
Directed by David Fincher. About Facebook. Won some awards. You probably haven't heard of it.

3. "The Voices" - Michael Perry
A dark comedy about a man who kills his girlfriend, and starts to take advice from his cat and dog on how to cover it up, this was at one time set to be directed by Mark Romanek, and star Ben Stiller. More recently, "Persepolis" helmer Marjane Satrapi took over, with Ryan Reynolds circling. Shooting may get underway early next year. Perry went on to write "Paranormal Activity 2" and short lived found footage series "The River."

Hugh Jackman
4. "Prisoners" - Aaron Guzikowski
A dark revenge thriller about the father of a kidnapped child who takes the law into his own hands, this has had one of the more tortured development histories of any Black List film. Initially intended to team Bryan Singer, Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, it soon got a shake up, with Antoine Fuqua replacing Singer, and Hugh Jackman coming in instead of Wahlberg. Financing couldn't come together (though Leonardo DiCaprio was briefly interested), but more recently, "Incendies" helmer Denis Villeneuve came on, and after Michael Fassbender turned it down, Jackman returned to the film. Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo and Viola Davis joined him, and the film finally got behind cameras this year, with a September release date set by Warner Bros.

5. "Cedar Rapids" - Phil Johnston
Helmed by Miguel Arteta, this comedy premiered to middling reviews at Sundance in 2011, starring Ed Helms, John C Reilly, Anne Heche and Sigourney Weaver. Johnston went on to write "Wreck-It Ralph" for Disney, and is developing TV pilot "Harve Karbo" with the Coen Brothers.

6. "Londongrad" - David Scarpa
The story of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, killed by radiation poisoning in London in 2006, has been in the works for sometime, initially attracting the attention of Mike Newell. About a year ago, it moved forward, with Rupert Wyatt and Michael Fassbender circling the film at Warner Bros, but no firm news has followed since.

7. "L.A. Rex" - Will Beall
Ex-cop Will Beall adapted his own first novel for this script, a pitch-black thriller about two cop coming up against Mexican gangs. Scott Rudin snapped it up, but it's never got made, though Beall remains hot stuff; he penned "Gangster Squad," worked on "Logan's Run," did a "Lethal Weapon" reboot, and is currently writing "Justice League."

Isla Fisher
8. "Desperados" - Ellen Rapoport
A "Hangover"-style comedy about a group of female friends who head to Mexico to delete an email from a man in a coma (don't ask...), this was set up at Universal, with Isla Fisher to star and "The Sarah Silverman Program" helmer Wayne McClammy directing. But "Bridesmaids" got the push from the studio in its place, and Fisher ended up having to settle for "Bachelorette."

9. "The Gunslinger" - John Hlavin
Another contemporary neo-Western, about the vengeance-seeking brother of a Texas Ranger tortured to death, this was snapped up by Warner Bros, with James Mangold attached to direct, and Josh Brolin rumored for a role. It's not moved further forward, but Hlavin's been busy, writing "Underworld Awakening," "Risk" for Will Smith and Robert Ludlum adaptation "The Janson Directive."

10. "By Way Of Helena" - Matthew Cook
This thriller, about a Texas Ranger and his wife sent to a town where bodies from Mexico are washing up on a riverbank, ticked along quietly for a while at Mandeville Films, before landing Australian director Kieran Darcy-Smith ("Wish You Were Here") a few months back. Cook also wrote cop thriller "Triple Nine" for John Hillcoat.

This article is related to: Features, Black List


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