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For the fourth consecutive year Hollywood has selected its Black List, a compilation of the top unproduced screenplays for 2009. Over 300 film professionals were asked to submit the titles of up to ten of their favorite screenplays. The only condition for the picks were that the projects would not be released in theaters this year. That means some of the Black List honorees may be in the process of being turned into movies but by far the majority remain thoughts on digital ink, a blueprint for grand dramatic ideas, high-reaching adventure and controversial ideas waiting to be burned to light.
For a screenplay to have made it onto the Black List it must have received at least five votes for it. Some scripts have five votes while the top-rated screenplay received 47 votes. That doesn't mean that the script with the most votes is the best screenplay of the year; it means that all of the screenplays mentioned on this list are among the best of 2009. There's no single winner.
What follows are the titles and loglines for the screenplays that made The Black List for 2009. Information about the status of the project is also included. The number indicates how many votes that screenplay received from the voters. Some Black List screenplays are presently listed on Coming Attractions, but I promise that I'll have film database pages drafted for all these projects before the end of the year begins.
Because of the large list of screenplays on this year's Black List I've divided it up into two groups: the lower-half portion (5 votes to 11 votes) and the top-half portion (12 votes to 47 votes, the most any script received.) Want to skip to the second part of the Black List? It's right here.
30 MINUTES OR LESS by Matthew Sullivan and Michael Diliberti
“A comedy about a pizza delivery guy on an unlikely caper.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Bill Weinstein, Simon Faber
MANAGER New School Media - Brian Levy
Red Hour Films and New School Media producing.
ALLIES WITH BENEFITS by Elizabeth Wright Shapiro
“The female President of The United States falls for her old college fling, the now Prime Minister of England.”
Scott Free Productions producing.
COMIC CON by Matthew Sullivan and Michael Diliberti
“To save their beloved neighborhood comic shop, a justice league of comic geeks must plan and execute a daring heist at Comic-Con.”
CROOK FACTORY by Nicholas Meyer
“Based on the novel by Dan Simmons and true events. An FBI agent is ordered to baby-sit Ernest Hemingway as he goes about running a motley spy ring in WWII Cuba.”
Warner Brothers. Infinitum Nihil producing.
THE CURSE OF MEDUSA by J Lee and Tom Welch
“An origin story of Medusa the Gorgon.”
Original Films producing.
DUE DATE by Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland
“An uptight father-to-be is forced to travel across the country with an idiotic stoner in order to close a major business deal and make it home in time for the birth of his first child.”
Warner Brothers. Legendary Pictures and Green Hat Films producing.
THE HAND JOB by Maggie Carey
“A coming-of-age comedy about a teenage girl who gives her first hand job (among other life experiences).”
Team Todd producing.
HANNA by David Farr
“A fourteen year old girl is raised by her father to be a cold hearted killing machine.”
Focus Features. Adelstein Productions producing.
THE HUNGRY RABBIT JUMPS by Robert Tannen
“A man becomes entangled in a secret society that forces him to murder.”
Maguire Entertainment and Endgame Entertainment producing.
JAWS OF LIFE by Michael Goldbach
“A seventeen year old boy falls in love with a woman old enough to be his mother and begins to question the meaning of love and relationships while his parents go through a divorce.”
Mason Novick producing.
JITTERS by Marc Haimes
“A dysfunctional, recession-struck family moves into a new neighborhood and is terrorized by superbugs.”
Paramount Pictures. Benderspink producing.
THE LAST STAND by Andrew Knauer
“A drug cartel king escapes his trial in a 200mph Gumpert Apollo, and the only thing in between him and Mexican freedom is a small town cop in a bordertown.”
Studio: Lionsgate. Di Bonaventura Pictures producing.
MEDIEVAL by Alex Litvak and Michael Finch
“An unlikely group of imprisoned warriors are forced on a suicide mission to steal the King's crown in order to gain their freedom. They soon realize they've been set up to take the fall for the assassination of the King.”
Fox, New Regency. Wonderland Sound and Vision producing.
OWENS MANUAL by Greg Ferkel
“A mild-mannered IT guy finds an 'owners manual' to his dull life but struggles to manage the realities of it when he reaches the end of the manual.”
Gary Sanchez Productions producing.
SAND DOGS by Vineet Dewan and Angus Fletcher
“A pair of Western Red Crescent Paramedics weather a series of intense, dangerous days in the Gaza Strip.”
SEX, GREED, MONEY, MURDER & CHICKEN FRIED STEAK by Reinhard Denke
“The story of oilman T. Cullen Davis, the richest man in the United States ever to be tried (and acquitted twice) for the capital murder of his stepdaughter, marking the end of the reign of Texas oil billionaires.”
Infinitum Nihil producing.
THE SPECTACULAR NOW by Scott Neustadter and Mike Weber
“A hard-partying high school senior's life changes when he meets a shy, insecure girl.”
Studio: Fox Searchlight. 21 Laps Entertainment producing.
SWINGLES by Zach Braff
“A bachelor who is dumped by his wingman teams up with a sharp-tongued woman he can't stand in order to meet women.”
Paramount Pictures. Misher Films producing.
THE TREES by Tyler Hisel
“Isolated and threatened, a mysterious force hidden within the trees outside the small town of Laytonsville, Maryland strikes fear in the townsfolk as Sheriff Paul Shields attempts to overcome the demons of his past while protecting those that he loves.”
THE UNDERLING by Dave Stoller and Ben Shiffrin
“A man slowly comes to discover his girlfriend is literally working for the devil and
has to find a way to escape.”
THE VATICAN TAPES by Chris Borrelli
“In a highly secured vault deep within the walls of Vatican City, the Catholic Church holds thousands of old films and video footage documenting exorcisms/supposed exorcisms and other unexplained religious phenomena they feel the world is not ready to see. This is the first tape - Case 83-G - stolen from these archives and exposed to the public by an anonymous source.”
Lionsgate. Lakeshore Entertainment producing.
WALL STREET 2: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS by Allan Loeb
“Gordon Gekko, fresh from prison, re-emerges into a much harsher financial world than the one he left.”
Studio: Fox. The Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation producing.
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Richard LaGravanese
“Jacob Jankowski is about to take his final exams in veterinary medicine at Cornell when his parents are killed in a car accident. He drops out and joins Benzini Brothers, a second-rate traveling circus trying to survive during the Depression.”
Fox 2000. Flashpoint Entertainment producing.
THE WETTEST COUNTY by Nick Cave
“Based on the book by Matt Bondurant. The story of a moonshine gang operating in the bootlegging capital of America – Franklin County, Virginia – during Prohibition.”
Red Wagon Productions producing.
YEAR 12 by Edward Ricourt
“Twelve years after an alien invasion leaves humankind decimated and brutally subjugated, a former soldier must smuggle deadly uranium in his bloodstream and, with help from a pair of rebels, fight his way to an air force base where the uranium can be extracted and used to fuel a nuclear missile for a counterstrike that will reverse the direction of the war.”
Paramount Pictures. Roth Films producing.
THE BLIND RAGE OF PEACOAT MILLER by Adam Penn
“A college student home for the holidays discovers that an internet porn film turns its viewer into homicidal maniacs. As the epidemic spreads, he has to save his longtime crush while struggling to control his own urges.”
Michael de Luca Productions and David Gordon Green producing.
CON MEN by Eric Lane
“Greg Weinstock and Kevin Russell, two drug reps from Burlington Labs with nothing in common aside from a shared gift of moving product, are dispatched to a convention to hook the biggest sale of their lives.”
Shay Weiner producing.
JOSH by Gary Ross
“The lives of a single father and his teenaged son are dramatically changed when the boy's mother returns and wants to be part of her son's life.”
Universal Pictures. Larger Than Life Productions producing.
MY SISTER IS MARRYING A DOUCHEBAG by Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux
“A young woman, thinking that her sister’s new fiance is a douchebag, sets out to sabotage their wedding.”
NO BLOOD, NO GUTS, NO GLORY by Chase Palmer
“A spy and twenty Union soldiers in disguise board a train in Georgia to execute a scheme that could bring a quick end to the U.S. Civil War.”
Misher Films producing.
RENKO VEGA & THE JENNIFER NINE by John Raffo
“Renko Vega, once a hero and now a rogue thief wandering the galaxy with his hyperintelligent spaceship the Jennifer 9, is forced to become a hero once again when the young daughter of the President of Earth is kidnapped.”
NORM THE MOVIE by Sam Esmail
“A buddy comedy in which a guy is transported into a movie... or so he thinks.”
SMASH AND GRAB by Marc Wolff
“When his wife is kidnapped, a reformed thief has to team up with his hapless expartner to save her, while dodging the LAPD, the FBI, and various members of the Los Angeles underworld.”
Mason Novick and Julie Yorn producing.
THE TRUE MEMOIRS OF AN INTERNATIONAL ASSASSIN by Jeff Morris
“Joe, an insecure writer with a boring desk job, finally manages to sell his assassin novel, The Memoirs of an International Assassin to the one publisher that will buy it. To his horror the publisher retitles it The True Memoirs of an International Assassin and markets the book as non-fiction -- making it seem as if Joe is the assassin himself. He soon finds himself in the crosshairs of the CIA, various drug lords, the media, and a beautiful investigative journalist while on a vacation in Belize.”
The Film Department. Michael De Luca Productions producing.
THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY by Mark Bomback
“Based on the comic book written by Gerard Way. After being raised by a brilliant scientist and a hyper-intelligent chimp, six super-powered former ‘child superheroes’ reunite to stop one of their own from leading a violin symphony that will destroy the world.”
Universal Pictures. Stuber Productions and Dark Horse Entertainment producing.
2 GUNS by Blake Masters
“Based on the comic book of the same name by Stephen Grant. A DEA agent and an undercover naval intelligence officer unwittingly investigate each other while stealing mob money.”
Universal Pictures. Marc Platt Productions and Boom! Studios producing.
ARTHUR by Peter Baynham
“Based on the 1981 film of the same name. A spoiled rich twentysomething must decide between true love and the vast fortune he’ll inherit if he marries a society woman whom he doesn’t love.”
Warner Brothers. MBST Entertainment and Benderspink producing.
CUT BANK by Roberto Patino
“A small town thriller set in Cut Bank, Montana.”
Stick n’ Stone Productions producing.
DEAD LOSS by Josh Baizer and Marshall Johnson
“A crab fishing boat crew rescues a castaway adrift in a life raft with mysterious cargo that soon both captivates and divides them.”
Thousand Words producing.
THE GHOST AND THE WOLF by Rylend Grant and Dikran Ornekian
“An ex-cop and his old partner must reunite, burying years of distrust, to take on the vicious Russian mobsters who altered their lives profoundly in the 90s… destroying one
and propelling the other to Captain.”
I HOPE WE CAN STILL BE FRIENDS by John Whittington
“A couple breaks up after 5 years together but vow to remain friends after the fact, which proves much harder to do than they imagined.”
Inferno Entertainment. Mason Novick producing.
I HATE YOU DAD by David Caspe
“A father moves in with his son on the eve of his son’s wedding and promptly begins feuding with the bride-to-be.”
Sony Pictures. Happy Madison Productions producing.
IF I STAY by Shauna Cross
“Based on the novel of the same name by Gayle Forman. A teenage girl leaves her body after a tragic car crash and needs to decide whether to return to her life or not.”
Summit Entertainment. Di Novi Pictures producing.
THE KING'S SPEECH by David Seidler
“George VI, also known as Bertie, reluctantly takes the throne of England when his brother, Edward, abdicates in 1936. The unprepared king turns to a radical speech therapist, Lionel Logue, to help overcome his nervous stutter and the two forge a
The Weinstein Company. Bedlam Pictures and See-Saw Films producing.
THE LOW SELF ESTEEM OF LIZZIE GILLESPIE by Mindy Kaling and Brent Forrester
“A single girl in Manhattan dates the hottest guy in the world but must overcome her insecurities when she hears him deny they are dating.”
BOBBY MARTINEZ by Ric Roman Waugh
“A coming-of-age biopic about the titular Mexican-American surfer. Martinez rose out of the gang-ridden streets of Southern California to become a hero to his community when he swept every major amateur surfing tournament in his first year of competition and won the ASP Rookie of the Year honors in his first pro season.”
State Street Pictures and Participant Media producing.
CORSICA 72 by Neil Purvis and Robert Wade
“On the island of Corsica in 1972, childhood best friends Marco and Sauveur find their lives veering in opposite directions - the first towards the Mafia, the second toward a simpler life with his beloved, Lucia. When the Corsican mob kills Sauveur's brother, they ignite a tit-for-tat blood feud that inevitably leads toward a final showdown.”
Ruby Films producing.
A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS: THE LEGEND OF NOLAN BUSHNELL by Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman
“The rise of Nolan Bushnell, father of the videogame industry, who started Atari in the 70s.”
Paramount Pictures. Appian Way Productions producing.
GOOD LOOKING by Chris McCoy
“In a future where dating services perfectly match soulmates, a man rejects the person chosen for him.”
Dreamworks. Double Feature Films producing.
JIMMY SIX by Daniel Casey
“The screw-up son of a murdered mobster goes with a hitman to exact revenge on the informer who sent his father to his death.”
Whitewater Films producing.
LIARS (A-E) by Emma Forrest
“A twenty-nine year old woman on the way to President Obama's inauguration stops to retrieve lost items from her ex-boyfriend in the hope of getting over her most recent heartache.”
Miramax. Scott Rudin Productions producing.
THE STORM by Richard Taylor and Bryan Bagby
“A bounty hunter and his prey must unite to take on an evil sheriff and his posse in a lawless Wyoming town.”
Simon Brooks producing.
BAYTOWN DISCO by Barry Battles and Griffin Hood
“Three redneck brothers get in over their heads when they agree to help a woman kidnap her son back from his seemingly evil father.”
THE GUYS GIRL by Nick Confalone and Neal Dusedau
“Three male best friends realize they’re each in love with their mutual female best friend when she gets engaged.”
JIMI by Max Borenstein
“The life story of rock legend Jimi Hendrix.”
Legendary Pictures. Billy Gerber producing.
LOVESTRUCK by Annabel Oakes
“Cynical best friends Amelia and Ruth love nothing more than to ridicule romance. When they take it one step too far at their friend's wedding, they are sentenced to a fate worse than death - becoming heroines in their own romantic comedy.”
RITES OF MEN by Jonathan Herman
“When a working class dad’s only son is murdered, he sets out to discover who is responsible.”
SHIMMER LAKE by Oren Uziel
“As a small-town bank-theft job slowly unravels, it proves to involve virtually everyone, from an ex-meth-lab runner to a crooked prosecutor and his vengeful cop brother.”
Fox. Josephson Entertainment producing.
SMILE, RELAX, ATTACK by Eli Attie
“A young, ambitious political consultant finds himself in over his head when his first big client - an incumbent Democratic Virginia Senator - becomes the subject of national scrutiny by both Parties.”
Mandate Pictures. Idealogy producing.
BALLS OUT by The Robotard 8000 (Tim Talbott and Malcolm Spellman)
“When insurance salesman Jim Simmers has a near death experience, he decides that nothing matters except getting a promotion, a new car, and the hot girl from work. Jim's new attitude alienates his friends and co-workers, and he must figure out how to live his new life without losing his old one.”
BURIED by Chris Sparling
“A civilian contractor in Iraq is kidnapped and awakens to find himself buried in a coffin in the desert.”
Dark Trick Films, The Safran Company, Versus Entertainment producing.
THE DIVERSIFICATION OF NOAH MILLER by Adam Cole-Kelly and Sam Pitman
“A liberal New Yorker realizes he isn't as open-minded as he thinks he is and sets out to make a black friend.”
34th Street Films, Radar Pictures producing.
THE GIRL WITH THE RED RIDING HOOD by David Leslie Johnson
“A Gothic imagining of the classic fairy tale in which a young woman is confronted by a werewolf, this time with a teenage love triangle at its center.”
Warner Brothers. Appian Way Productions producing.
MY MOTHER'S CURSE by Dan Fogelman
“The young inventor of a new organic cleaning product invites his mother on a crosscountry road trip as he tries to sell his product to marketing outlets. His ulterior motive is to reunite her with a man she loved when she was young, and her motive is to help him overcome his ‘curse’ of non-commitment in relationships, for which she blames herself.”
Paramount Pictures. Michaels Goldwyn producing.
RESTLESS by Jason Lew
“A tale of young love between a teenage boy and girl who share a preoccupation with mortality.”
Sony Pictures. Imagine Entertainment producing.
STREETS ON FIRE by Justin Britt-Gibson
“Two cops, reluctantly partnered, try to bring down a drug syndicate while navigating the streets of Chicago.”
Katalyst Films producing.
TAKE THIS WALTZ by Sarah Polley
“A young woman struggles with her infidelities and the budding realization that she may be addicted to the honeymoon period of her relationships.”
Susan Cavan producing.
THE TRADE by Dave Mandel
“The true story of two New York Yankees pitchers who caused a national scandal when they swapped wives in the early 70s.”
Warner Brothers. Idealogy producing.
WHATEVER GETS YOU THROUGH THE NIGHT by Morgan Foehl
“After ten years on the run from the mob, the son of a mob lawyer must choose between
prison and helping the man who killed his mother.”
BEST ACTRESS by Michael Zam and Jaffe Cohen
“The story of the infamous career-long battle between screen legends Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, focusing on the on-set experience of the only film they ever made together WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE.”
Plan B Entertainment producing.
BETTY’S READY by Jaylynn Bailey
“After she discovers that her boyfriend is gay, a high schooler, determined to lose her virginity before she goes to college, pursues several possible ‘candidates’ before she finds love with her geeky neighbor, who has always loved her.”
THE SITTER by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka
“A suspended college student, living at home with his single mom, is talked into babysitting the three, young kids next door.”
Fox. Michael De Luca Productions.
WENCESLAS SQUARE by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
“Based on the Arthur Phillips short story. Two spies fall in love while participating in separate Cold War missions in Prague during the 1980s.”
Endgame Entertainment and This American Life producing.
Z FOR ZACHARIAH by Nissar Modi
“A sixteen-year-old girl named Ann Burden survives a nuclear war in a small American town..”
Zik Zak Filmworks producing.