The Brit List 2009

We've often referred to The Black List, the annual countdown of favorite scripts compiled by canvassing the opinions of film industry folk, but never before, I believe, The Brit List. The principal with this one is exactly the same, it's just limited to films out there on the British market. In 2007, the list was topped by The Men Who Stare At Goats, now revving up for release with George Clooney and Ewan McGregor in the leads. The new list is a surprising and most newsworthy affair, not least because of the way it sheds new light on a curious old Sacha Baron Cohen rumour.

The winner of the 2009 Brit List poll is Good Luck Anthony Belcher, a fantasy comedy vehicle for James Corden from an original idea that he supplied to screenwriter George Kay. After Corden's career u-turn in the monsterturkey Lesbian Vampire Killers this is a most welcome burst of light at the end of his cinematic tunnel.

The Guardian describe Belcher as being about:

...a loser who is awarded a week of perfect good fortune by the celestial Department of Good Luck, as compensation for the fact that they previously lost his file down the back of a cabinet. But Belcher discovers that sudden success can be a mixed blessing.

Of course he does. The film is apparently all set to go into production with director Jim Field Smith who recently wrapped on She's Out of My League, a Dreamworks rom-com starring Jay Baruchel and Lindsay Sloane, and has made several shorts with Corden in the past.

If you're British, you're probably assuming that Matthew Horne will be playing Corden's best mate in Belcher. I'd put money on it.

Peter Straughan, screenwriter of The Men Who Stare at Goats, has made a return to the list with Frank. It's co-written with Jon Ronson, the writer of the original Goats non-fiction book.The Guardian referred to Frank as Frank Sidebottom, which at least revealed what it would be about: the papier-mache headed musician and TV presenter. If you don't know him, then let me forgo any kind of fudged explanation and tell you that he really needs to be seen to be believed before sending you over to Youtube.

I tweeted Ronson to congratulate him on Frank Sidebottom, as I then believed the script was called, making the list. Here's his reply:

Thank you! It's a fictional story inspired by my time with Frank. And they've got it wrong. It is just called 'Frank'.

Ronson previously published an account of his time in Sidebottom's band in... yep, The Guardian. Small world. Unfortunately, it's also a world in which a simple bit of Googling (or reading Ronson's story) can reveal Frank Sidebottom's 'real' identity – though I wish it wasn't.

I'd previously reported on Ronson writing two fiction screenplays. One now tagged, one still flyin' UFO.

Sharing second place Brit List are Simon Beaufoy's follow up to Slumdog Millionaire, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Corsica 72 by Bond regulars Neil Purvis and Robert Wade, and Oliver Parker's Now is Good. Ranking lower are Terry Gilliam and Tony Grisoni's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, presumably in its newly improved incarnation, Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin, and a Paddington Bear big screen adaptation by Hamish McColl and Paul King.

Another remarkable entry is Dan Mazer's screenplay, Eurovison. We reported on this film back in August when The Sun – the flip side to The Guardian in many respects – pushed forward a rumour that Sacha Baron Cohen would be following up Borat and Bruno with another mockumentary, this time set in the world of the Eurovision song contest. On this new evidence, it would seem that the film is to be fully scripted. Could one of the skeletal screenplays that props up the narrative structure of Bruno or Borat be Brit List stuff? I don't think so.

Update: Screen Daily have the full list. Trap for Cinderella by Iain Softley? Sounds like something I'd really want to see at least.

Good Luck Anthony Belcher by George Kay

Corsica 72 by Neil Purvis & Rob Wade

Now Is Good by Ol Parker

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen by Simon Beaufoy

Balance Of Power by Deborah Davis

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach & Ol Parker

The Rapture by Daniel Hardy & Rupert Wyatt

Conviction by Bill Gallagher

Frank Sidebottom Jon Ronson & Peter Straughan

I Wish I Wish by Peter Souter

Love Minus Zero by Emma Forrest

A Million Miles An Hour by Brendan Grant

The Shimmering Essence Is Approaching Its Target aka Ponte's Tower by Michael Thomas

A Bear Called Paddington by Hamish McColl & Paul King

The Beautiful Fantastic by Simon Aboud

Cuckoo by Francesca Brill & Luke Watson

Embassy by Jon Baird

Eurovision by Dan Mazer

Flawless Skin Of Ugly People by Jack Thorne

Grabbers by Kevin Lehane

Great Expectations by David Nicholls

The Haven by Mike Lesslie

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote by Terry Gilliam & Tony Grisoni

Now, Love by Virginia Gilbert

Rafta Rafta by Ayub Khan Din

Red Circle by Steve Knight

Rookwood by Steve Sarossy

Snatched by Lee Patterson

Trap For Cinderella by Iain Softley

Treasure Island by Nail Johnson Under

The Skin by Jonathan Glazer

The Wettest County by Nick Cave

What Was Lost by Jeremy Brock

Wingman by Mat Kirkby