Movie Talk

The 2012 Black List names the year’s best unproduced screenplays

Movie Talk

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Photo: Everett Collection

Here are at least ten of the approximately ten billion scripts currently circulating in Hollywood that now have a better chance at being put at the top of the pile on some producer's desk.

The members of the Black List are apparently done with reading for the year as they've named the Top 10 unproduced screenplays for 2012. As per usual, the List covers a wide variety of genres, from found footage horror ("Glimmer") and quirky high school romance ("Me & Earl & the Dying Girl") to Oscar-friendly biography pic ("Seuss," "Rodham") and rousing sports drama ("Draft Day").

The Black List, mischievously named after the Hollywood term used to describe industry members and projects that have been more or less "banned" from the system, was formed in 2005 as a way to consolidate executive opinions (or "mentions") of favorite unproduced screenplays. The organization branched out into the script consultation business this past October, with organization founders Franklin Leonard and Dino Sijamic launching an online service allowing writers to have their work considered by Hollywood.

Several screenplays on previous Black Lists have ended up being produced as feature films, most notably such Oscar winners as "The King's Speech," "Slumdug Millionaire," "The Social Network" and "The Descendants."

The 2012 Black List is below, courtesy of the organization's Twitter account. Stay tuned, as some if not all of these screeplays could be heading to a theater near you as real live movies sometime in the near future.

1.) "Draft Day" (Rajiv Joseph, Scott Rothman), 65 mentions. On the day of the NFL Draft, Bills General Manager Sonny Weaver has the opportunity to save football in Buffalo when he trades for the No. 1 pick. He must quickly decide what he's willing to sacrifice in the pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred.

2.) (tie) "A Country of Strangers" (Sean Armstrong), 43 mentions. Based on true events, the story chronicles Inspector Geoff Harper's 40-year search for the Beaumont Children, three siblings taken from an Australian beach in January 1966.

2.) (tie) "Seuss" (Eyal Podell, Jonathan Stewart), 43 mentions. As a young man, Ted Geisel meets his future wife Helen, who encourages his fanciful drawings, and in the 1950s when Ted is struggling professionally, Helen helps inspire the children's book that will become his first big hit, "The Cat in the Hat."

4.) "Rodham" (Young Il Kim), 39 mentions. During the height of the Watergate scandal, rising star Hillary Rodham is the youngest lawyer chosen for the House Judiciary Committee to Impeach Nixon, but she soon finds herself forced to choose between a destined path to the White House and her unresolved feelings for Bill Clinton, her former boyfriend who now teaches law in Arkansas.

5.) "The Story of Your Life" (Eric Heisserer), 35 mentions. Based on the short story by Ted Chiang. When alien crafts land around the world, a linguistics expert is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit.

6.) "Wunderkind" (Patrick Aison), 33 mentions. A Mossad employed father and his CIA agent son team up to hunt an escaped Nazi.

7.) "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile" (Michael Werwie), 31 mentions. Based on a true story, a promising young law student fights an oppressive legal system and growing public scrutiny when his routine traffic stop snowballs into shocking criminal charges, imprisonment, daring escapes and ultimately acting as his own attorney in a nationally televised murder trial.

8.) "Glimmer" (Carter Blanchard), 29 mentions. When three friends go missing on a camping trip in a forest rumored to be haunted, the two left behind discover clues that lead them to a safe deposit box containing video tapes showing exactly what happened to their friends.

8.) "Me & Earl & the Dying Girl" (Jesse Andrews), 29 mentions. Based on Andrews's eponymous novel, a quirky high school student who enjoys making films sparks a friendship with a classmate dying of leukemia.

10.) "Devils at Play" (James Dilapo), 28 mentions. In the Soviet Union in 1937, a worker of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs finds a list of traitors, which he thinks is going to be his way out.

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