It's supposedly "the hottest read in town" - an annual ranking that propelled films like Juno into theatres, and their creators to fame.
The list is compiled with the input of over 250 film executives, each of whom contributed the names of up to ten of their favorite scripts that were written in 2008, but, for whatever reason, have not, and will not be produced and released during this calendar year.
This year, scripts had to receive at least four mentions to be included on THE BLACK LIST. Entertainment Weekly published the list of scripts, what they're about, and who's attached to or interested in each.
Here are the top 10, ranked in order of most to least votes (of note, #3 on the list):
1. The Beaver by Kyle Killen
It’s About: Walter Black, a depressed toy manufacturer, loses his family and his business. But then Walter tries on a hand puppet—a chatty British rodent called "The Beaver"—and his personality is transformed. It’s all good at first, but things turn ugly when the puppet won’t let go. It’s Like: Liar Liar fused with the horror movie Magic. Status: Steve Carell is attached to play Walter.
2. The Oranges by Jay Reiss and Ian Helfer
It’s About: Two New Jersey families are thrown into comic turmoil when the prodigal daughter returns for Christmas and falls in love with her parents’ best friend. It’s Like: The Graduate engaged to Meet the Parents. Status: Anthony Bregman (Thumbsucker) and MRC will produce. Julian Farino (Entourage) is negotiating to direct.
3. Butter by Jason Micallef
It’s About: Destiny, a black foster child, faces off against Iowa’s reigning dairy diva, the beautiful but venal Laura Pickler, in an epic butter-carving competition for the ages. It’s Like: Election swirled with Best in Show. Status: Jennifer Garner is in talks to play Laura, while DreamWorks is in early negotiations for the project.
4. Big Hole by Michael Gilio
It’s About: Lee, an old, grumpy ex-cowboy, loses $30,000 to a fraudulent sweepstakes company and sets out to punish those responsible. Lee’s son, the local sheriff, is charged with stopping him. It’s Like: Falling Down splattered with No Country for Old Men. Status: Project is set up with Aversano Films (Failure to Launch).
5. The Low Dweller by Brad Ingelsby
It’s About: Charlie "Slim" Hendrick, a don’t-eff-with-me ex-con, returns home to find that his sweetie has moved on and his bitter brother has gambling debts. When a disfigured, dog-loving thug beats his sibling to death, Slim seeks vengeance. It’s Like: Unforgiven, only less geriatric. And much less forgiving. Status: Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Tony and Ridley Scott will co-produce.
6. F***buddies by Liz Meriwether
It’s About: Emma and Adam have the best relationship ever! They’re twentysomething pals who, you know, do it. A lot. But then Adam goes and falls in love with Emma and ruins everything. Can their perfect non-union survive? It’s Like: When Harry Met Sally… for the Juno generation. Status: Ivan Reitman’s company is developing it.
7. Winter’s Discontent by Paul Fruchbom
It’s About: After the death of his wife of more than 50 years, irrepressible horndog Herb Winter sets out, at age 75, to find sexual fulfillment with another woman. Or, if possible, several. It’s Like: Superbad set in a retirement community. Status: The film is set up at Sony. No director or star is attached.
8. Broken City by Brian Tucker
It’s About: The New York mayor asks private eye Billy Taggart to find out if the mayor’s wife is cheating on him. She is, with the campaign director of the mayor’s political rival, no less, who soon turns up dead. Did Billy’s investigation lead to murder? It’s Like: A modern L.A. Confidential peppered with Glengarry Glen Ross patois. Status: Being developed by the producing team behind Juno.
9. I’m With Cancer by Will Reiser
It’s About: Adam, a 25-year-old single Jewish dude, is diagnosed with spinal cancer. Hilarity ensues. Seriously. It’s Like: The 40 Year-Old Virgin with chemo. Status: Seth Rogen will produce and has signed on to play Adam’s best bud.
10. Our Brand Is Crisis by Peter Straughan
It’s About: A team of American political operatives moves to Bolivia to take on a flailing presidential campaign. Loosely based on the 2006 documentary of the same name. It’s Like: Primary Colors picked The Motorcycle Diaries as a running mate. Status: George Clooney’s company will produce it.
Frankly, none of these really excites me! However, what we have here are simply synopses. The finished products in the hands of the right filmmakers and casts could be worthwhile. Judd Apatow's influence is palpable.