The Black List has been released. The annual list is compiled with a poll of 300 (up from last year’s 250) development executives and high-level assistants, and contains a ranking of the hot screenplays making the rounds in Hollywoodland, which were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with, 2010 and will not be released in theaters during this calendar year. Basically, the black list contains the hottest projects in Hollywood that you haven’t heard of yet.

Note: The headline is a slightly inaccurate, because a lot of these screenplays have already been acquired (six of the top ten listed), a bunch are in production now, and some have even finished production. One of this year’s top ten screenplays, J.C. Chandor‘s Margin Call, about the last 24 hours at now-defunct investment bank Lehman Brothers is already in the can and set to premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival with Chandor at the helm and Kevin Spacey and Paul Bettany star. The top screenplay om the list, College Republicans, already has Shia LaBeouf and Paul Dano attached to star.

Started in 2005 by a young executive at Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way, who polled 90+ peers to send him their 10 favorite new unproduced screenplays to read over the holidays. The underground list was e-mailed around and quickly became a Hollywood phenomenon. To give you an idea, the top three entries of the 2005 list where Things We Lost in the Fire, Juno, and Lars and the Real Girl. However it should be noted that a warning appears at the beginning of the list:

“THE BLACK LIST is not a “best of” list. It is, at best, a “most liked” list.”

Also, it should be noted that many people in recent years have begun accuse participants for pushing their own/friends clients.

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Reynolds (or whoever gets the gig) would play a young CIA agent tasked with transporting a criminal (Denzel Washington) to safety. As we reported before, David Guggenheim’s story was snagged by Universal in a bidding war, and has Snabba Cash director Daniel Espinosa set to helm. The basic setup for the script goes as follows:

Set in South America, Safe House follows a young U.S. intelligence agent who must go on the run with a newly arrived prisoner (Denzel’s potential role) after his titular safe house comes under attack — think of a mix between Collateral and Three Days of the Condor.

The Book of Eli

Denzel Washington can make a hell of a bad guy, and he’s now negotiating a new role where he’d play the antagonist — a lethal prisoner, in fact — in a buzzed-about script called Safe House. Read More »

screenplays

Universal has purchased David Guggenheim‘s spec Safe House for $600k against $900k, winning out against two other movie studios in a bidding war. The action thriller tells the story of a CIA agent who becomes the only survivor after a CIA safe house attack, and must help a dangerous prisoner avoid being killed as they escape to a second safe house, “outmaneuvering various forces that want them both dead.”

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