Just as we’re enjoying the last of 2012’s cinematic offerings, the latest edition of the Black List has hit the web. The annual survey highlights the hottest unproduced screenplays of the year, as based on the votes of hundreds of executives.

The term “unproduced” is used rather vaguely here. Some of these scripts (like Ivan Reitman‘s Draft Day and Wally Pfister‘s Transcendence) already have a director or star attached, while others are still floating around in search of the right studio or producer. The subjects and honorees range greatly as well. Nazi hunters, Hillary Clinton, the NFL, and time-traveling teens are among the subjects of this year’s winners, and the screenwriters run the gamut from industry newcomers to seasoned pros.

Hit the jump to read the full list.

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Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber quickly established themselves as new talents to watch with their original dramedy (500) Days of Summer. Since then, though, the pair have shown a distinctly literary bent as they’ve lined up one book adaptation after another: The Spectacular Now, When You Were Mine (called Rosaline in the movie version), and Beginner’s Greek.

Now add to that shelf Where’d You Go Bernadette, based on a serio-comic novel by Maria Semple. Semple’s name may not ring a bell, but you’re probably familiar with her work — she’s a former TV writer who’s worked on Mad About You, Suddenly Susan, and Arrested Development. More details after the jump.

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Hailee Steinfeld, Dave Franco, and Deborah Ann Woll have been offered the leads in Rosaline, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet that’s told from the perspective of the girl Romeo ditches to be with Juliet. Michael Sucsy is directing from a script by by (500) Days of Summer writers Scott Neustader and Michael H. Weber, which in turn is an adaptation of Rebecca Serle‘s forthcoming debut novel When You Were Mine. The comedy will use modern-day dialogue in a 16th-century Verona setting.

Woll would play the title character, while Franco and Steinfeld could play Romeo and Juliet, respectively. If Steinfeld signs on it’ll be her second time playing the iconic character, as she’s also lined up to play Juliet for Carlo Carlei’s more straightforward adaptation. Much as I like Steinfeld, her casting here strikes me as a bit off since she’s eleven years younger than Woll and Franco — but maybe that’s part of the story? [Showblitz]

After the jump, Anne Hathaway becomes a producer, and Sawyer from Lost explores the world of competitive international breakdancing. Really.

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Ashton Kutcher‘s last few films haven’t been massive earners, but now he is poised to make a film that could bring him to a fresh young audience. He is part of a project set up at Sony called What Would Kenny Do?, in which a 17-year old encounters his 30-year old self. Oh, that old gag! Ashton Kutcher is the 30-year old version of the character. And now Justin Bieber is reportedly looking at the role of the 17-year old. Read More »

John Hillcoat‘s revived project The Wettest County in the World has Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy set to appear when the film shoots later this year, and there is word that Mia Wasikowska might grab the main female role if her schedule permits. While we wait for that to be sorted out, here’s word that Jason Clarke (The Fields, Public Enemies, Brotherhood) is in the picture as well. No word on his role, but with Mr. Hillcoat again directing from a script by Nick Cave (adapted from Matt Bondurant’s book of the same name) it might not even matter. [Variety]

After the break, the president of SAG gets a role in Clint Eastwood’s latest, and a Prom actor goes to The Spectacular Now. Read More »

Beginner's Greek

Warner Bros Pictures has acquired the big screen adaptation of James Collins‘ novel Beginner’s Greek. I Love You Man, Observe and Report and Green Lantern producer Donald De Line has hired 500 Days of Summer screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber to pen the adaptation. If I had a list of new screenwriters to watch, Neustadter and Weber would definitely be on the top of the list. If you’ve seen 500 Days of Summer, than you know why these guys are getting so much buzz around Hollywood.
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500 days of summer

One of the many reasons I loved 500 Days of Summer is the clever screenwriting. And by clever writing I don’t mean overwritten dialogue ala Diablo Cody, but fantastic story beats that take full advantage of the film medium. Fox Searchlight has released a new clip which perfectly illustrates what I’m talking about. As you might already know, the film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom, a hapless greeting card copywriter and hopeless romantic, who is blindsided after his girlfriend Summer (Zooey Deschanel) dumps him (this is how the movie begins), he shifts back and forth through various periods of their 500 days “together” (hence the title) to try to figure out where things went wrong.

The video clip after the jump takes place after Tom and Summer reconnect after the breakup, and Tom is invited to a party at his ex-girlfriend’s house. Tom, of course, thinks this is an opportunity to rekindle their relationship, but as you might expect, expectations and reality diverge. Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber have expertly crafted a scene that I believe is so brilliant, that it makes you wonder why no one had come up with this concept prior. Everyone has encountered this situation at one point in their life, and everyone knows how it feels – yet I’ve never seen a movie portray the feeling so accurately, visually, without employing a ton of exposition before hand. The scene in the movie goes on a bit longer, and has more of a dramatic effect on the story (as you might expect, reality gets worse). The sequence works better in the context of the film, but you’ll get the point. Watch the clip embedded after the jump.

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Variety Steals /Film News Scoop?

On Tuesday, we ran an exclusive news scoop about the next project from the director and writers of 500 Days of Summer  — Marc Webb and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber are developing a big screen adaptation of Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now.

Tonight Hollywood tradepaper Variety is running the same bit of news with no source credit to /Film. This isnt a big surprise. This isn’t anything new. The ethics of Variety’s sourcing practices have been well documented. It’s just very disappointing.

Update: I’ve since had contact with Fox who claims that Variety was working on the story before I conducted my interview. But I’m under the belief that its not about who is working on a story first — it’s about who reports it first with verified confirmed information. In the real world, credit goes where credit is due. If The New York Times was working on a story and The Washington Post broke the story first, The Times piece would mention that the news broke to the public via the Washington Post. Yes, I know this isn’t watergate or some huge news story, but this is one story in a pattern of hundreds or thousands. Variety rarely, if ever, credits online sources for breaking news.

500 Days of Summer seems to be the big buzz film of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Yesterday I got a chance to sit down with director Marc Webb (full interview will be posted later in the week), who slipped a bit of news regarding his possible follow-up. Marc revealed that his is developing a big screen adaptation of Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now, which is being written by 500 Days of Summer scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber:

“Neustadter and Weber are adapting a book called The Spectacular Now for Fox Searchlight,” Webb told /Film. “It’s a really fantastic novel about a 17 year old charm monger who drinks too much. And its about how he’s negotiating the world of growing up. It’s a very realistic portrayl of what it’s like to be a kid. And it has a very frank depiction of sex, alcohol and that sort of thing.”

Webb was clear to mention that it’s currently being written, and there is nothing “locked and loaded” for his next project, despite the Hollywood trade papers announcement that he will be making a film called Age of Rage, which was described as “Children of Men meets Lord of the Flies”.

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