Franklin Leonard and Dino Sijamic released this year’s Black List, a weighted list of film executives’ favorite screenplays of the year. Previous Black List finalists have been since made into movies, including Transcendence, Django Unchained, Looper, Chronicle, Juno, Lars And The Real Girl, 500 Days Of Summer, and Argo. Three out of the past five Best Pictures at the Oscars started out on Black List, as were seven of the past twelve Oscar-winning screenwriters.
As was our tradition last year and 2011 and 2009, we’re going to summarize the picks. Some could argue the Black List is becoming a way to promote in-development screenplays instead of unknowns, and there’s some truth to that. 68% of this year’s picks already have a producer attached. One of them (Faults) finished principal photography last week.
Nonetheless, the Black List draws attention to some original stories in a market loaded with sequels and dumb adaptations. This years’ list is weighted with stories about NASA and artificial intelligence. There was only one zombie movie and one alien invasion (and zero vampires!) on this year’s list. We may be going through a hard sci-fi phase for a change, Hallelujah.
You can check out the full list over at /film. It includes two competing biopics about the making of Jaws for some reason. There was also yet another modern retelling of Shakespeare play and two different screenplays involving Mr. Rogers. And yes, just as I complained about last year, there’s at least one screenplay on the 2013 Black List about a teenage boy losing his virginity, like anybody gives a sh-t.
Here are the fourteen Black List 2013 screenplays which are relevant to our interests:
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (27 votes)
An adolescent boy with a terminally ill single mother begins having visions of a tree monster, who tells him truths about life in the form of three stories, helping him to eventually cope with his emotions over his dying mom.
Sovereign by Geoff Tock and Greg Weidman (24 votes)
A man goes to space to destroy the ship that, upon going sentient, killed his wife.
Reminiscence by Lisa Joy Nolan (20 votes)
An “archeologist” whose technology allows you to relive your past finds himself abusing his own science to find the missing love of his life.
The Golden Record by Aaron Kandell and Jordan Kandell (19 votes)
The true story of how Carl Sagan fell in love while leading the wildest mission in NASA history: a golden record to encapsulate the experience of life on earth for advanced extraterrestrial life.
Gay Kid and Fat Chick by Bo Burnham (14 votes)
Two high school misfits become costumed vigilantes and take out their frustrations on the students who have bullied them throughout high school.
1969: A Space Odyssey or How Kubrick Learned to Stop Worrying and Land on the Moon by Stephany Folsom (13 votes)
With NASA’s Apollo program in trouble and the Soviets threatening nuclear war, a female PR operative conspires with NASA’s Public Affairs Office to stage a fake moon landing in case Armstrong and Aldren fail, the goal being to generate public excitement that will aid the U.S. in winning the Cold War. But the op is faced with the biggest challenge of all: Filming the fake lunar landing with temperamental Stanley Kubrick.
Ink and Bone by Zak Olkewicz (12 votes)
When a female book editor visits the home of a horror writer so he can complete his novel, she finds that all of his creations are holding him hostage.
The Boy and His Tiger by Dan Dollar (11 votes) [currently in production with Leonardo DiCaprio]
The true story of Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbes.
Seed by Christina Hodson (10 votes)
After suffering a devastating miscarriage, a young woman and her fiancé travel to Italy where she meets his family for the first time, but her grief turns to shock when the local doctor declares that she’s still pregnant. And while her fiancé and his family seem delighted by the news, she begins to suspect their true motives are quite sinister.
Randle Is Benign by Damien Ober (9 votes)
Follows a woman in the 80s who works at an IBM-like company and is at the forefront of artificial intelligence research. When her project (named RANDLE) hits a major milestone indicating that she may have actually achieved AI, it is unexpectedly hijacked by the agenda of the company’s mysterious CEO. As she dives deeper into the corporate agenda, she learns that there may be a connection between her project and the 1981 assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.
Capsule by Ian Shorr (8 votes)
A young man’s life is turned upside down when he mysteriously begins to receive metallic capsules containing messages from his future self.
Extinction by Spenser Cohen (8 votes)
A man must do everything he can to save his family from an alien invasion.
Revelation by Hernany Perla (8 votes)
A prison psychiatrist meets a death row inmate on the verge of his execution who claims to be the only thing stopping the end of the world. As she begins to investigate his predictions, she finds them to be eerily accurate, and that she may be a central figure in the events to come.
Patient Z by Michael Le (6 votes)
In a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies, a man who speaks their language questions the undead in order to find a cure for his infected wife.
(Banner image by Adam Greenfield via Creative Commons license.)