The Most Liked Unproduced Screenplays Of 2014 [Black List 2014]

The Black List 2014 has been released. The annual list is compiled with a poll of over 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, 2014 and will not be released in theaters during this calendar year. Basically, The Black List is a list of the hottest projects in Hollywood that you haven't heard of yet.

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. Not all of these films will get made, let alone made well, but the Black List still serves as a good indication of what projects are being buzzed about.

  • 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. Aaron Sorkin's script for Charlie Wilson's War was the #5 script on the first list, and David Benioff's script for The Kite Runner followed just behind it.
  • Movies based on Black List scripts have won 37 Oscars from 196 nominations.. Three out of the last six Best Picture winners were Black List scripts (Argo, The King's Speech, Slumdog Millionaire), as were seven of the past fourteen screenwriting Oscar winners.
  • More than 270 scripts from the previous nine annual Black Lists have been produced as feature films.
  • Movies based on annual Black List scripts have made more than $23.2 billion at the worldwide box office.

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.

The full list of 70 screenplays can be found below. The number before the titles is the number of people who voted for the script. We are going from the top to the bottom. Our commentary, background information and insight can be found in the blockquotes.

CATHERINE THE GREAT

51

CATHERINE THE GREAT

Kristina Lauren Anderson

Sophia Augusta takes control of her life, her marriage, and her kingdom becoming Russia's most celebrated and beloved monarch: Catherine the Great.

Producer: Atlas Entertainment

The producer of a film called Girlfriend, which premiered at TIFF in 2010, hits the list's top spot with a script exploring one of the most famous personalities in Russian history. It is set up at Chuck Roven's Atlas Entertainment — he's the producer who has been part of all of DC's comic book movies since Batman Begins, in addition to having produced films like Twelve Monkeys and Three Kings.  Atlas isn't exclusively tied to Warner Bros., but for a film such as this, with a significant angle from history, WB seems like the most likely home for the project.

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38

ROCKINGHAM

Adam Morrison

A look into the mania of the OJ Simpson trial, through the eyes of Simpson's sports agent Mike Gilbert and Los Angeles Police Department Detective Mark Fuhrman.

The title of this script, from the co-writer of a 2011 indie romantic drama called The Chateau Meroux, refers to the name of the street in Brentwood where OJ Simpson lived at the time he was accused of murdering his estranged wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. The mansion at 360 North Rockingham has long since been demolished (it was torn down in 1998) but the echoes of the Simpson murder case persist today.

THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE

35

THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE

Randall Green

A nerdy high schooler, who fancies himself an amateur photographer, attempts to create a "Swimsuit Issue" featuring his high school classmates in hopes of raising enough money to go to summer camp.

Randall Green's most prominent attachment so far has been his gig writing the new Scooby-Doo film for Warner Bros. and Atlas Entertainment, the same company that is backing development of the #1 script on this year's Black List. And the Scooby-Doo gig isn't necessarily anything to laugh at — the last person to write a big-screen Scooby-Doo movie ended up directing a little movie called Guardians of the Galaxy.

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34

THE BABYSITTER

Brian Duffield

A lonely twelve year old boy in love with his babysitter discovers some hard truths about life, love, and murder.

Producer: Wonderland Sound and Vision

The Babysitter is set up at McG's production company Wonderland Sound and Vision. Duffield has been a hot screenwriter in Hollywood over the last year. He wrote the big screen adaptation and Divergent sequel Insurgent as well as Gavin O'Conner's Jane Got a Gun which stars Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor. He has many projects in development, including Monster Problems (which I've heard is awesome), Tucker and Dale vs. Evil director Eli Craig's Your Bridesmaid Is a Bitch and Vivien Hasn't Been Herself Lately, a horror romdram that he is planning to make his feature directorial debut.

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32

ROTHCHILD

John Patton Ford

A young, well-educated loner kills the members of his mother's estranged family one-by-one in hopes that he will inherit the family's vast fortune.

The script's title seems to reference the Rothschild family, which in the late 1800s was a powerful international banking family, and the holder of one of the world's greatest privately-held fortunes. The writer of this pitch-black sounding story is the writer/director of a short film called Patrol from 2010, in which a disaffected security guard pretends to be a badass cop during his six-year old son's weekend visitation. Production company Black Box Management has the small TV series Daddy Knows Best on its resume, but Voltage has been part of a set of films that includes the new Cabin Fever remake, and Dallas Buyers Club, The Hurt Locker, and Killer Joe.

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30

THE WALL

Dwain Worrell

A sniper and his spotter must kill and avoid being killed, separated from an enemy sniper by only a 16x6ft prayer wall.

Producer: Amazon Studios

Dwain Worrell is the writer of a China-set horror film called Walking the Dead, from 2010, and one of the writers on a film called Operator, which stars Mischa Barton, Ving Rhames, Luke Goss and Michael Paré. (Deadline described Worrell as "a Barbados-born, Boston-raised aspiring writer who moved to China for nine years. There, his Mandarin skills got him work translating and polishing content for the government-run TV station CCT, rewriting a script for a Chinese production company, teaching English and taking local acting jobs while he wrote on the side."

And The Wall is set up at Amazon Studios, making it part of the company's early foray into feature production to go alongside its burgeoning television output. The Wall was Amazon's first spec script purchase, and is set to go into production in 2015 with a $5m budget.

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25

THE CASCADE

Kieran Fitzgerald

Based on the documentary style film "The Day Britain Stopped" directed by Gabriel Range, an oil tanker collides with an Iranian patrol boat in the Strait of Hormuz, triggering a chain of tragic disastrous events.

Producer: Scott Free Productions

Based on a 90 minute BBC television drama which aired in 2003, and produced by Ridley Scott's Scott Free production company. Contraband helmer Baltasar Kormákur is attached to direct and it has been reported that Cate Blanchett has been circling the project. Screenwriter/director Kieran Fitzgerald was nominated for an Emmy in 2009 for Outstanding Investigative Journalism in Long Form for the P.O.V. airing of his 2007 film The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández. He wrote the script for Tommy Lee Jones' western drama The Homesman, and is also working with Oliver Stone and Ridley Soctt on other projects.

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24

AETHER

Krysty Wilson-Cairns

In near future London, a revolutionary technology has been invented that can record sounds hours after they were made. Detective Harry Orwell, inventor of this technology, is part of a pilot program where investigators record and analyze past sound waves and finds himself the prime suspect while investigating a string of brutal murders.

Producer: Film Nation

Krysty Wilson-Cairns trained at the National Film and Television School, London. She wrote an adaptation of the Charles Graeber book The Good Nurse which was optioned by Lionsgate earlier this month with Darren Aronofsky slated to direct.

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24

SITUATION COMEDY

Cat Vasko

A young woman, feeling directionless, stumbles upon a mysterious courtyard where she is transported into a sitcom-like universe, becoming a major character on this "TV show."

Producer: Right Of Way

From Jason Reitman's production company Right Of Way Films comes what sounds like a funny meta take on television's sitcom format. Vasko is a newcomer and doesn't even have an IMDb page.

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23

TAU

Noga Landau

A woman held captive in the futuristic smart house of a serial kidnapper realizes that her only hope of escape lies in turning the house's sentient computer against its creator.

Producer: Russell Ackerman, John Schoenfelder

Producer Russell Ackerman started off as the assistant to Guillermo del Toro, working on Hellboy 2 and moved up to producing behind the scenes features for the director's films. He's now working as a producer on his own projects such as the film Cargo, which is in development now. Producer John Schoenfelder is also involved with Cargo.

Find out the rest of the Black List 2014 scripts on the next page.

The Black List 2014

The Black List 2014 continues...

18

ECHO

Chris MacBride

A CIA drone coordinator battles his own psychological health while trying to decipher whether his wife has been replaced.

Producer: 21 Laps

18

MENA

Gary Spinelli

In the late 1970s to mid 1980s, Barry Seal, a TWA pilot recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States, one that spawned the birth of the Medellin cartel and eventually almost brought down the Reagan White House with the Iran Contra scandal.

Producer: Imagine

17

DODGE

Scott Wascha

A genre bending action comedy about a pill popping thug who begins to develop superpowers.

17

NORTH OF RENO

Banipal Ablakhad, Benhur Ablakhad

A down and out prison guard attempts to murder a recently released inmate and steal a half million dollars in hidden heist money.

Producer: Flynn Picture Co

17

ON THE BASIS OF SEX

Daniel Stiepleman

The story of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, as she faced numerous obstacles to her fight for equal rights throughout her career.

16

MOONFALL

David Weil

The investigation of a murder on a moon colony.

Producer: Ram Bergman

15

MATRIARCH

Eric Koenig

A prison psychologist has 48 hours to convince a serial killer to tell her the location of her final victim before she is executed.

16

THE MUNCHKIN

Will Widger

A little person private eye investigates the disappearance of

a young actress in 1930s Hollywood, leading him to uncover conspiracies involving THE WIZARD OF OZ and Metro Goldwyn Mayer brass.

Producer: Red Wagon, Paramount Pictures

15

THE DEFECTION

Ken Nolan

After the Edward Snowden affair, an intelligence contractor defects to North Korea, taking a mysterious bag with him, and the CIA hires an expert trained during the Cold War to help with the case.

Producer: 20th Century Fox, Hutch Parker Entertainment

15

THE LONG HAUL

Dan Stoller

A self-destructive trucker estranged from his son travels cross country with a problematic nephew whom he barely knows.

Producer: Matt Berenson

14

BERLINER

F. Scott Frazier

As the Berlin Wall is being constructed at the height of the Cold War, a veteran CIA agent searches for a Soviet mole who has already killed several fellow agents, including a young agent he's mentored.

Producer: Universal, Chris Morgan

14

ONE FELL SWOOP

Greg Scharpf

A self-centered divorce attorney's life takes an unexpected turn when he is guilted into spending time with the family of a one night stand who dies in a freak accident.

Producer: Wonderland Sound and Vision

13

BIRD BOX

Eric Heisserer

A woman tries to lead her children to safety after the world is invaded by monsters who turn you insane upon sight.

Producer: Universal, Chris Morgan

13

HUNTSVILLE

Anthony Ragnone II

A girl tracks down the man responsible for her father's death and avenges him.

13

IN THE DEEP

Anthony Jaswinski

A lone surfer attacked by a shark and stranded on a reef must find a way back to shore before succumbing to her injuries.

Producer: Sony, Weimaraner Rebuplic Pictures

13

THE FOUNDER

Rob Siegel

The origin story of McDonald's and Raymond Albert "Ray" Kroc.

Producer: FilmNation, The Combine

13

THE SEARCH

Spencer Mondshein

An expert tracker battles his demons while on a journey to rescue his estranged older brother who has vanished in the uncharted wilderness of the Northwest.

Producer: Voltage, Busted Shark

13

YELLOWSTONE FALLS

Daniel Kunka

After an apocalyptic event, a mother wolf is separated from her mate and the rest of the pack, and has to protect her cubs from swarms of mutated humans.

12

SYNDROME (E)

Mark Heyman

A detective solving the case of a disturbing film with subliminal images that is killing people who come in contact with it discovers a greater evil.

11

BEEF

Jeff Lock

The manager of a fast food chain in Muncie, Indiana gets in over his head with some bookies.

11

BLACK WINTER

Jonathan Stewart, Jake Crane

On the eve of a US-Soviet disarmament treaty, a British scientist and a NATO medical investigator discover a secret Soviet plot to unleash a terrifying biological weapon.

11

CARTOON GIRL

Randall Green

When a young boy finds out that the cartoon character he's in love with is based on a real girl, he drags his single father on a road trip to track her down.

11

ROAD TO OZ

Josh Golden

The early days of brilliant, whimsical author L. Frank Baum, who gave the world The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

10

BIG TIME ADOLESCENCE

Jason Orley

A sixteen year old virgin with a growth deficiency slowly gets corrupted by his hero, an aimless college dropout.

10

LBJ

Joey Hartstone

Lyndon Johnson goes from powerful Senate Majority Leader, powerless Vice President to President of the United States following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

10

POSSESSION: A LOVE STORY

Jack Stanley

In a seemingly perfect marriage, a man discovers that he is actually wedded to a demon inhabiting another woman's body.

10

THE SECRET INGREDIENTS OF ROCKEY COLA

Mike Vukadinovich

Twin brothers with opposite personalities are separated at a young age and go on to live drastically different lives, eventually being reunited in the effort to save the company 'Rocket Cola' despite their love of the same woman.

10

THE SHOWER

Jac Schaeffer

At a baby shower for their longtime friend, the attendees suddenly find themselves in the middle of a different type of shower: meteors that release a vapor turning men into blood-hungry aliens.

9

CELERITAS

Kimberly Barrante

When a missing astronaut crash lands forty years after he launched having not aged a day, his elderly twin brother helps him escape the NASA scientists hunting him. As the government closes in, neither brother is who they claim to be.

9

I AM RYAN REYNOLDS

Billy Goulston

An inside look at the marriage, career, and mental state of 2010's Sexiest Man Alive.

9

JACKPOT

Dave Callaham

After a group of bumbling teachers win a large amount of money, their greed and incompetence put them on a hilarious path toward death and destruction.

9

PLUS ONE

April Prosser

Just out of a long term relationship and realizing that all her friends have married, Rachel discovers that her only remaining wingwoman is Summer, a loud and oversharing wildcard.

9

WONKA

Jason Micallef

A dark, reimagining of the Willy Wonka story beginning in World War II and culminating with his takeover of the chocolate factory.

8

BEAUTY PAGEANT

Evan Mirzi, Shea Mirzai

After they unwittingly get their daughters disqualified from the child beauty circuit, two warring stagemothers are forced to go head to head in an adult beauty pageant.

8

BISMARCK

Jared Cowie

As Britain struggles through the darkest hours of World War II, a naval officer, raw from the loss of his ship during the evacuation of Dunkirk, is thrust into the thick of the hunt for the Nazi super- battleship, Bismarck. Based on a true story.

8

MORGAN

Seth W Owen

A corporate risk management consultant is summoned to a remote research lab to determine whether or not to terminate an at-risk artificial being.

8

SHADOW RUN

Joe Gazzam

A viral attack puts lives in danger, forcing a CIA agent to initiate a secret prisoner exchange of Russia's most notorious spy for the American scientist who can create a cure.

8

THE BRINGING

Brandon Murphey, Philip Murphey

A private investigator investigates a mysterious murder at a downtown Los Angeles hotel and uncovers it's dark supernatural history. Based on true events.

8

THE TAKEAWAY

Julia Cox

A young, play-it-safe, art restorer is swept up in a whirlwind romance with her charming boss, who turns out to be a world- class thief.

7

BLINK

Hernany Perla

Years after being fully paralyzed during an infamous bank robbery, a man is taken hostage for the secrets in his head. His only form of communicating with the outside world – and outsmarting his captors – is his ability to blink.

7

BOSTON STRANGLER

Chuck MacLean

In the 1960s, a determined detective puts his life and career on the line to solve the case of the Boston Strangler.

7

ERIN'S VOICE

Greg Sullivan

A deaf computer genius' world is thrown into turmoil when he meets a troubled coffee shop waitress whose voice turns out to be the only thing he can miraculously hear.

7

EVERYONE WANTS EVERYTHING

Abraham HIgginbotham

As his life reaches its neurosis-inducing midpoint, a married man asks himself an eternal question with no real answer — "Am I living the life I want to be living, or do I need to start over before its too late?" Torn between two lives, he's forced to do the one thing he doesn't want to do — make a choice.

7

GIFTED

Tom Flynn

A thirty year old man attempts to continue raising his deceased sister's seven year old daughter, a kid-genius, while battling his own mother for custody.

7

MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA

William Morris Endeavor

An uncle is forced to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies.

7

MERC

Andrew Bozalis, Derek Mether

When a disgraced former soldier finds success by working for a private security company, the illegal tactics the company employs challenges his worldview.

7

PROFESSOR PASGHETTI

Jeff Feuerstein

A famous children's author, with an affinity for drugs and hookers, finds himself on a journey of self-discovery with a dead stripper and her eight year old son.

7

THE EDEN PROJECT

Christina Hodson

When a race of genetically modified humans living secretly among us declare war on Man, the fate of the world is in the hands of a rogue "Synthetic" named Eve and a young girl who is about to discover she's not all human.

7

UNCLE SHELBY

Brian C Brown, Elliott DiGuiseppi

The little-known personal, heartbreaking, and darker side of cartoonist/author Shel Silverstein.

6

A GARDEN AT THE END OF THE WORLD

Gary Graham

In a post-apocalyptic world, a recluse, trying to recreate trees to produce new life, takes in a young girl who is on the run from some bad men, including her father.

6

COFFEE & KAREEM

Shane McCarthy

An overweight, foul-mouthed nine year old reluctantly teams with the straight edge cop sleeping with his mom to take down Detroit's most ruthless drug lord.

6

FORGIVE ME

Max Hurwitz

How Mike Wallace helped to create 60 Minutes and how years later, he confronted and dealt with his own depression.

6

IN REAL TIME

Chai Hecht

A young man convinced that his mentally unstable sister needs to relive her high school prom from ten years prior to overcome her depression goes to great lengths to recreate that event.

6

IN THIS, MY DARKEST HOUR

Bryan McMullin

A man rises to power during the California gold rush, tearing his family apart.

6

MONEY MONSTER

Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf, Jamie Linden

After a man loses all his money in the stock market by following the advice of a Wall Street TV host, he takes the money adviser hostage on live television.

6

MY FRIEND DAHMER

Marc Meyers

Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by John Backderf, Jeffrey Dahmer struggles with a difficult family life as a young boy and during his teenage years he slowly transforms, edging closer to the serial killer he becomes.

6

SEDUCING INGRID BERGMAN

Arash Amel

Based on Chris Greenhalgh's eponymous novel. Ingrid Bergman and war photographer Robert Capa engage in a passionate, life- changing romance in post-World War II Paris.

6

THE BEAUTIFUL GAME

Zander Lehmann

A high school soccer star's personal life becomes complicated leading up to his championship game as he develops a relationship with his soccer coach.

6

THE MAN IN THE ROCKEFELLER SUIT

David Bar Katz

The story of Clark Rockefeller, a con artist thought to be American royalty until he kidnapped his young daughter initiating a manhunt that revealed his true identity.

6

THE WILDE ONES

Tyler Shields

In a corrupt Southern town, a dangerous sociopath runs bareknuckle boxing fights that pit its youths against each other.