The annual Black List of most-like, unproduced screenplays currently making the rounds of HOllywood has been released with the wrestling comedy Cauliflower from screenwriter Daniel Jackson topping the list. Lily Hollander’s drama See How They Run and Rebecca Webb’s comedy Divorce Party took the second and third places.
The Black List was founded by Franklin Leonard in 2004 as a survey among fellow development executives as to what currently-unproduced screenplays they were reading and enjoying. The top vote-getter that first year was Diablo Cody’s Juno. Over the past seventeen years of the annual Black List scripts being announced, 470 of the screenplays have been produced including such films as Free Guy, Queen & Slim, I, Tonya, All the Money in the World, Bird Box and The Post. Films produced from Black List-named screenplays have gone to earn 283 Oscar nominations and 60 Academy Award wins. Four of those films that were produced from Black List nominated screenplay were Best Picture winners – Slumdog Millionaire, Argo, The King’s Speech and Spotlight.
In this year’s crop, there are a number of scripts based on real life people including “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli (The Villain), restaurant chain founder Rocky Aoki (Mr. Benihana), Kanye West (The College Dropout), Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich (Symphony Of Survival), Donald Trump (Believe Me), American Idol viral sensation, William Hung (Idol) and the first and only African Samurai in feudal Japan (Yasuke).
A couple of the loglines suggest stories that are modernizations of classic Hollywood films. Michael Kujak’s Follow sounds like All About Eve set among the world of social media influencers while William Yu’s It Was You has a distinct Shop Around The Corner/ You’ve Got Mail vibe.
You can download the Black List’s 2021 list, complete with logline, here.