2019 Black List

The 2019 Black List has arrived.

This fifteenth annual edition surveyed more than 250 executives in the film industry, of the year’s most-liked scripts that have not started or will not begin production in this calendar year. This list has long been an indicator of great scripts which could result in great movies, and previous entries have included scripts for films like Whiplash, The Social Network, The Prestige, Arrival, Manchester by the Sea, Argo, Juno, In Bruges, and countless more. Check out the full list of 2019 entries below, as well as ten of our favorites from these selections.

The Black List is the brainchild of Franklin Leonard, a former executive who collected emails from several industry colleagues and turned it into a document that went viral at agencies and production companies. He’s since grown it into a full-blown organization – I’d encourage you to listen to Leonard talk about it in his own words on a recent episode of Write Along, an excellent writing podcast hosted by The /Filmcast’s David Chen. But without further adieu, let’s get into some of our favorite descriptions of scripts on this year’s Black List.

10 Favorites

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Kevin Etten, Tom Gormican

Actor Nicolas Cage, spiraling and trapped in debt, makes an appearance at the birthday party of a Mexican billionaire. While there, he learns that the billionaire runs a drug cartel, and the CIA recruits Cage for intelligence.

The House is Not For Sale

Roy Parker

With one last chance at a promotion, a down-on-her-luck real estate agent returns to her rural hometown to sell the impossible – a haunted house where countless couples have been murdered. As the bodies of new residents continue to pile up, our real estate agent will stop at nothing to rid the house of evil – no matter what
the cost.

The Menu

Seth Reiss, Will Tracy

A young couple visits an exclusive destination restaurant on a remote island where the acclaimed chef has prepared a lavish tasting menu, along with some shocking surprises.

Helldiver

Ben Imperato

After finding themselves stranded on the wreckage of a Helldiver bomber in the middle of the ocean, an American aviator and a Japanese Kamikaze pilot must work together to survive their greatest threat yet — a 22-foot great white shark.

The Laborer

Jared Anderson

A pair of out-of-work immigrant brothers catch a break when they are hired as day laborers to work at a house in the Hollywood Hills, until they witness something they will wish they had never seen.

Say Something Nice

Erin Rodman

After she catches her boyfriend cheating, Liv goes on a social media tirade that lands her in court for slander, and the judge forces her to make amends by composing one positive comment for every negative comment she posted, while under the supervision of a reclusive mediator also on the rebound from a failed relationship. Inspired by true events.

First Ascent

Colin Bannon

Two years after a free solo accident nearly kills Hillary Hall, she enlists the help of her old climbing partners to document her comeback — the first ascent of 4,000 foot rock wall in rural China. During the harrowing climb, Hillary struggles with her inner demons and supernatural forces, as it slowly becomes clear that this mountain does not want to be conquered.

The Perdition in Liege

Henry Dunham

A prisoner of war in a Belgian POW camp undergoing abandonment survives an execution firing squad by chance and escapes by hiding among the dead. After removing his fallen compatriot’s dog tags to get home and give their families solace, he attempts the fifty-mile journey south toward the allied stronghold, through the deadly war-torn landscape, and before a hell-bent SS officer on his tail catches up to him.

The Repossession

Megan Amram

Twenty years after a failed exorcism, a meek young woman becomes unlikely friends with the foul-mouthed demon that possessed her as a child.

Til Death

Jessica Knoll

Swept up in the excitement of her wedding day, Dr. Julie Wheeler is oblivious to the killer on her guest list, who is methodically stalking her nearest and dearest, until its too late.

The Full 2019 Black List

Here’s the full list, in order from most votes received to the fewest:

Move On

Ken Kobayashi

Teddy thinks he’s the only living person left in a world where humanity is frozen in time… until his ex-girlfriend, Leyna, shows up at his doorstep. Together, they must go on a journey to find the cause behind the freeze and in the process, confront the issues that plagued their relationship before it’s too late.

Field of View

Reiss Clauson-Wolf, Julian Silver

A soldier, forced to relive her worst day in combat, begins to question her sanity when the VR simulation she’s experiencing doesn’t match her memory of the mission gone wrong.

Don’t Worry Darling

Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke

A psychological thriller about a 1950s housewife whose reality begins to crack, revealing a disturbing truth underneath.

Cicada

Lillian Yu

When a talented hacker is recruited by the mysterious Cicada 3301, she gets wrapped up in a plot that threatens to destroy the entire world. Based on the real organization.

The Traveler

Austin Everett

A man jumps forward in time at the same time every morning. As the length of time increases for every jump, he struggles to keep his family together and find a cure, all as his secret spreads throughout the world. Based on the novel by Joseph Eckert.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Kevin Etten, Tom Gormican

Actor Nicolas Cage, spiraling and trapped in debt, makes an appearance at the birthday party of a Mexican billionaire. While there, he learns that the billionaire runs a drug cartel, and the CIA recruits Cage for intelligence.

Rumours

Tyler Austin, Patrick Eme

In 1970s LA, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, two struggling musicians and lovers, join a band called Fleetwood Mac and are thrown into a whirlwind of worldwide fame, infamous drug addiction, and one of the best-selling albums of all time — which also happens to be about the disintegration of their relationship.

A Magical Place Called Glendale

Sarah Monge

To revamp her self image, an arrogant but well-meaning high school socialite decides to help a former friend land the guy of her dreams… but in the process, realizes she wants her for herself.

Shut In

Melanie Toast

A single mother is held captive by her violent ex, and her two young children are left at risk. She must do everything to protect them and survive.

The Broker

Justin Piasecki

A fixer who brokers off-the-books exchanges for powerful corporate clients finds himself being hunted after he’s hired to protect a whistleblower and the evidence she’s uncovered.

Pod

Nabil Chowdhary

After a mission to destroy a black hole that endangers mankind goes wrong, an astronaut awakens in her escape pod to find that decades have passed seemingly in a moment. Now, with an old body and fragile mind, she battles against the elements of space & time to complete her mission.

Wayward

Andrew Zilch

The wife of a megachurch pastor seeks atonement after she and her lover kill an attacker in self-defense, but don’t report it out of fear of exposing their affair.

Grandma Wants to Die

Patrick Cadigan

When Ben is left footing the bill for his own wedding just weeks before the big day, he’s forced to make a deal with his estranged grandmother Minnie. She’ll give him the money if he signs the papers for her assisted suicide. Ben gladly agrees, only to unearth Minnie’s final agenda before she departs… destroy the wedding from the inside and seemingly ruin Ben’s life.

I Heart Murder

Tom O’Donnell

A true-crime podcaster tries to solve a gruesome cold case, putting her in the killer’s crosshairs.

8-Bit Christmas

Kevin Jakubowski

Ten-year-old Jake Doyles goes on a herculean quest to get the Christmas gift of his generation – a Nintendo Entertainment System – in suburban Chicago in the late 1980s.

Black Mitzvah

Lauren Tyler

After embarrassing herself at the most popular girl’s party, a black and Jewish middle school misfit embarks on a journey to glow up and throw the best Bat Mitzvah of all time.

The House is Not For Sale

Roy Parker

With one last chance at a promotion, a down-on-her-luck real estate agent returns to her rural hometown to sell the impossible – a haunted house where countless couples have been murdered. As the bodies of new residents continue to pile up, our real estate agent will stop at nothing to rid the house of evil – no matter what
the cost.

Klein

Derek Elliott

Life as a single dad hasn’t been a challenge for Las Vegas blackjack dealer Mike Klein, until his ex resurfaces after walking out on the family six years ago.

The Menu

Seth Reiss, Will Tracy

A young couple visits an exclusive destination restaurant on a remote island where the acclaimed chef has prepared a lavish tasting menu, along with some shocking surprises.

The Process

Levin Menekse

Trapped at a three day personal development retreat, a woman fights to save her husband and herself from being brainwashed by a charismatic self-help guru.

Refuge

Debra Moore Muñoz

A brother and sister navigate the perils of both man and nature through Central America in their quest to find safety in the United States.

Ripple

Ezra Herz

After strange deaths and suicides skyrocket in a dying Appalachian coal town, Maggie – a first responder – wages a personal war against the local coal mine, unearthing a disturbing past that the company has kept secret within the waters of the local lake.

They Cloned Tyrone

Tony Rettenmaier, Juel Taylor

An unlikely group is thrown together by mysterious events that leads them to uncover a government conspiracy.

Breathe

Doug Simon

In the near future when air-supply is scarce, a mother and daughter fight for survival when two strangers arrive desperate for an oxygenized safe haven.

Dollhouse

Michael Paisley

When a struggling fashion model in New York City gets chosen by a mysterious Parisian designer to be the face of his first campaign since his disappearance five years prior, she begins to realize she was chosen for a reason and must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice for beauty and recognition.

Helldiver

Ben Imperato

After finding themselves stranded on the wreckage of a Helldiver bomber in the middle of the ocean, an American aviator and a Japanese Kamikaze pilot must work together to survive their greatest threat yet — a 22-foot great white shark.

High on Christmas

Hannah Mescon, Dreux Moreland

A stoner comedy about one family trying to save Christmas from itself after Santa eats the wrong batch of cookies.

The Laborer

Jared Anderson

A pair of out-of-work immigrant brothers catch a break when they are hired as day laborers to work at a house in the Hollywood Hills, until they witness something they will wish they had never seen.

Say Something Nice

Erin Rodman

After she catches her boyfriend cheating, Liv goes on a social media tirade that lands her in court for slander, and the judge forces her to make amends by composing one positive comment for every negative comment she posted, while under the supervision of a reclusive mediator also on the rebound from a failed relationship. Inspired by true events.

Affairs of State

Pat Cunnane

Affairs of State is a romantic comedy about an outgoing President, an incoming Prime Minister, and their second shot at love.

An Aftermath

Lauren Caris Cohan

After a whirlwind lost-distance online romance, a once-cynical writer inherits a remote smart-house from her newly deceased new husband and discovers he might not be entirely gone after all.

Apex

Aja Gabel, MJ Wesner

When old college friends on a trip to Mexico get trapped in an underwater cave system with a bull shark, old tensions and power struggles resurface as they fight to survive.

Barron: A Tale of Love, Loss & Legacy

Nicolas Curcio

Fearing the devastating impact that his father’s presidency would have on his personal life, his country, and the world at large, ten-year-old Barron Trump sets out to sabotage his father’s 2016 campaign.

The Cabin at the End of the World

Steve Desmond & Michael Sherman

A gay couple and their adopted daughter have their cabin invaded by four strangers who take the family captive and tell them that, to prevent the upcoming apocalypse, one of them must be killed by the others.

The Diamond as Big as the Ritz

Cody Behan

When the underprivileged John Unger is invited to spend the summer at the mansion of his peculiar classmate, his thirst for grandeur leads him down a dangerous exploration of greed, morality, and the secret horrors of the ruling class. Based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story.

First Harvest

Kevin McMullin

George runs a struggling farm where he cares for his terminally ill wife, Alice. Everything changes when he decides to bring home an orphaned baby he found out in the field. The child’s presence begins to unearth buried secrets while engulfing the family in a series of supernatural events.

My Boyfriend’s Wedding

Carrie Solomon

After Georgia accidentally receives an out of the blue invitation to her on-again, off-again boyfriend’s wedding, she and her best friend Keely make the ill-informed decision to attend.

Resurrection

Andrew Semans

Margaret is a single mother living in New York with her teenage daughter. When David, a mysterious older man from Margaret’s past, begins appearing randomly in her environment, she becomes convinced that he intends to bring tremendous violence into their lives. So Margaret embarks on a vigilante mission to protect her daughter, and to disembowel David.

The Searchers

MacMillan Hedges

An inside look at the unique relationship between John Wayne and John Ford on the set of THE SEARCHERS.

Sister

Azia Squire

Following her mother’s sudden passing, a queer black woman returns to her southern town to assist her estranged sister plan the funeral. Her trip takes a turn when sleep deprivation manifests visions of her deceased mother.

Super Dad

Sean Tidwell

A subversive superhero story about the world’s only superhero living a bachelor lifestyle, learning he has two very different teenage twins he never knew existed, and now has to figure out how to be a father.

The Swells

Rachel James

A young woman, propelled by an unstoppable rage, begins inviting her victims to a summer lake house as revenge for past wrongs. But when one of her guests has been wronged as well, she passes on The Swells – bringing its wrath to the streets of New York.

Betty Ford

Kas Graham, Rebecca Pollack

An intimate portrait of the sensational First Lady and ERA champion, Betty Ford, as she challenges, scandalizes, dances and drinks her way through the White House to gain a higher popularity rating than any President in American history, all whilst maintaining a 26 pill-a-day drug habit.

Doll Wars

Matt Ritter

When the upstart Bratz dolls challenged Barbie’s antiquated gender norms and threatened their monopoly, Barbie struck back with a billion-dollar copyright lawsuit. In jeopardy of shutting down, Bratz turned to a small, scrappy, all-female law firm to take on Mattel in a historic, David vs. Goliath intellectual property battle that changed the toy industry and American popular culture forever. Based on a true story.

Don’t Go in the Water

Peter Gaffney

A recovering alcoholic sets off for seclusion but gets more than he bargained for when he encounters a mysterious creature nearby.

First Ascent

Colin Bannon

Two years after a free solo accident nearly kills Hillary Hall, she enlists the help of her old climbing partners to document her comeback — the first ascent of 4,000 foot rock wall in rural China. During the harrowing climb, Hillary struggles with her inner demons and supernatural forces, as it slowly becomes clear that this mountain does not want to be conquered.

The Man in the Woods

Darren Grodsky, Danny Jacobs

After moving to Maine and befriending an enigmatic hermit, twelve-year-old Henrietta Thorne begins to wonder if he holds the key to solving a mystery that has eluded our planet for more than a decade.

The Perdition in Liege

Henry Dunham

A prisoner of war in a Belgian POW camp undergoing abandonment survives an execution firing squad by chance and escapes by hiding among the dead. After removing his fallen compatriot’s dog tags to get home and give their families solace, he attempts the fifty-mile journey south toward the allied stronghold, through the deadly war-torn landscape, and before a hell-bent SS officer on his tail catches up to him.

The Repossession

Megan Amram

Twenty years after a failed exorcism, a meek young woman becomes unlikely friends with the foul-mouthed demon that possessed her as a child.

10-31

Peter Gamble, Ian Shorr

A young woman takes her niece and nephew trick-or-treating and discovers a note inside a candy wrapper that says there’s a killer loose on her block.

Apex

Stephen Vitale

A mysterious loner heads to Muscle Beach in 1985 to pursue a career as a competitive bodybuilder. Struggling to transform his physique, he unleashes a darker side of himself as he descends into madness.

Assisted Living

Kay Oyegun

A thief finds sanctuary in a retirement home after going on the run.

Atlanta on Fire

Adam Morrison

The true story of Leo Frank, a young, Jewish businessman who, due to widespread anti-Semitism/the KKK in the post Civil War South, was wrongfully accused, tried, and convicted of murdering a 13-year-old factory worker, Mary Phagan.

Blue Slide Park

Kyle Anderson, Michael Vlamis

After his first album topped the Billboard Charts, life was never the same for Malcolm McCormick aka Mac Miller. This is his story of music, love, success, family, and addiction. Based on the forthcoming manuscript UNT. MAC MILLER BIOGRAPHY written by Paul Cantor for Abrams Press.

Can You Tell Me How?

Gregory Bonsignore

Alarmed by the disproportionate dropout rates amongst children of the working class, a young female TV producer finds a way to teach them their ABCs and 123s. With the help of genius puppeteer Jim Henson and a diverse team of dedicated researchers and educators, they brought us the groundbreaking show, Sesame
Street.

Girlfriend on Mars

Kaitlin Fontana

Amber and Kevin, weed dealer burnouts committed to going nowhere together, have been dating for twelve years. When Amber enters a reality show that will take the winner to Mars with no chance of return, Kevin has to face what it really means when the ones we love leave us and leave the planet. Based on the story by Deborah Willis.

Meet Cute

Chris Powers, Dan Powers

MEET CUTE, the hottest dating app on the market, brings couples together by giving them their Rom Com moment. When the app’s biggest skeptic, Haley, matches with one of its developers, Russ, their instant connection starts to change her mind.

The Mother

Michael Notarile

The incredible true story of Fredericka Marm Mandelbaum, who was the country’s first female mob boss. During the Gilded Age, Marm opened a school for criminals, and built her empire by treating her gang of runaways and orphans as family — eventually partnering with George Leslie to pull off what is still to date the largest bank heist in American history (adjusting for inflation).

No Good Deed

Christina Pamies

A woman with a troubled past invites her teen niece to live with her in the family’s farm house, but the two become tormented by a creature that can take away their pain for a price.

Nomads

Esteban Orozco

A reverse SEARCHERS from the perspective of the Natives going East into the unknown, the metropolis, the belly of the beast, late 1800s New York City.

The Showrunner

Cosmo Carlson

The unbelievable true story of the creation of the world’s first, longest running, and most notorious reality show “COPS.” Based on “How ‘Cops’ Got Made — And What It Says About America” by Tim Stelloh.

Stampede

Sontenish Myers

A young slave girl named Lena has telekinetic powers she cannot yet control on a plantation in the 1800s.

T

Eric Gross

The true story of how Lawrence Tureaud, a poor kid in Chicago with 12 brothers and sisters, fought and charmed his way into becoming the single lettered icon of saintly compassion and macho energy.

This is Going to Hurt

Cameron Fay

An absent mother attempts to reconnect with her daughter by relaying to her how she helped her own parent through battles with cancer and addiction.

Til Death

Jessica Knoll

Swept up in the excitement of her wedding day, Dr. Julie Wheeler is oblivious to the killer on her guest list, who is methodically stalking her nearest and dearest, until its too late.

Voicemails for Isabelle

Leah McKendrick

A low-level TV writer struggles to cope with the death of her little sister by continuing to leave her voicemails chronicling the shitshow that is dating in LA. When the phone number is unknowingly transferred, a cocky New York real estate agent begins receiving the hilarious and confessional voicemails, and feels pulled to California to find this stranger he feels intimately close to.

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