Oh my God, it’s a top 10 list! Everyone drop everything and gawk at its numerical definitude! So every year, midlevel studio exec Franklin Leonard compiles his Black List, a list of the “most liked” as-yet-unmade screenplays in Hollywood. (Recent Black List script movies include: The Beaver, The Switch, The Social Network, No Strings Attached…) The LA Times just posted the top 10, and most of them sound a little… familiar.
49 votes: “College Republicans” by Wes Jones. Aspiring politician Karl Rove leads a dirty campaign for College Republican chairman under the guidance of Lee Atwater. Anonymous Content producing. [Political exposé, sounds like Fair Game/Casino Jack/Social Network -Ed.]
47 votes: “Jackie” by Noah Oppenheim. Jacqueline Kennedy’s life immediately after her husband’s assassination. Darren Aronofsky directing for Fox Searchlight. [Biopic of a famous person…]
45 votes: “All You Need Is Kill” by Dante Harper. A new army recruit in a war against aliens finds himself caught in a time loop. Set up at Warner Bros. Doug Liman may direct. [Aliens. Time travel. Source Code meets Cowboys vs. Aliens, say.]
43 votes: “Safe House” by David Guggenheim. A young man at a CIA-run safe house must help a rogue ex-agent escape assassins. Universal Pictures to produce with Daniel Espinoza to direct. Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington to star. [aka The Bourne Unstoppable.]
39 votes: “Stoker” by Wentworth Miller. After the death of her father, a teenage girl must deal with a mysterious uncle. Fox Searchlight purchased the script. [Wentworth Miller the guy from Prison Break? I always thought he sounded smart.]
32 votes: “999” by Matt Cook. A gang of crooked cops plans a major heist that requires them to shoot a fellow officer. Anonymous Content producing. [At least this one’s too broad to feel like so much of a rip off…]
31 votes: “Margin Call” by J.C. Chandor. A fictional account of the final 24 hours of Lehman Brothers. Chandor has directed stars Kevin Spacey and Paul Bettany. Film will debut at Sundance Film Festival next month. [So, like, a non-terrible remake of Wall Street 2?]
30 votes: “American Bull—-” by Eric Warren Singer. The true story of the FBI’s 1980 undercover sting operation of Congress, dubbed Abscam, which was designed to root out corruption and was the brainchild of a con man. Sony Pictures has optioned the script. [Okay, that one sounds kind of good.]
28 votes: “Argo” by Chris Terrio. The true story of how the CIA, with help from Hollywood, used a fake movie project to smuggle hostages out of Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Optioned by Warner Bros. [“This year’s Charlie Wilson’s War!”]
24 votes: “The Last Son of Isaac Lemay” by Greg Johnson. An aging outlaw, convinced that there’s evil in his genes, goes on a journey to kill his offspring. Gore Verbinski’s company producing. [Eh…]
In typical Hollywood fashion, with few exceptions, this sounds less like a list of scripts people liked, and more like a list of scripts that will probably get made, which might become hits and make everyone who liked them seem smart. No one has “opinions”, just predictions. Ooh, does it have a concept that can be summed up in a single sentence?? This is the best script ever!
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UPDATE: Now the rest of the list is online. Read it, if you dare. SPOILER ALERT: It includes the as-yet-unproduced “Hovercar 3D”, which I think I can safely say will be the best film ever made.