U.K., Irish biz rates unproduced screenplays

LONDON — “The Call Up,” a sci-fi horror script by Charles Barker set in the world of virtual gaming, tops the 2011 Brit List, which ranks the most liked unproduced screenplays in the U.K. and Irish film community.

Barker is a commercials director with extensive CGI experience. “The Call Up,” which heads the list with 10 votes, is being developed by rookie producer Matt Wilkinson, who left his post as a development exec at Working Title earlier this year to start his own company Stigma Films.

The Brit List is modelled on Hollywood’s Black List, which asks a pool of development execs, agents and producers to recommend their favorite unproduced scripts.

Second in this year’s Brit List, with eight votes, is William Boyd’s adaptation of his own novel “Ordinary Thunderstorms,” which is being developed by David Thompson’s Origin Pictures with BBC Films. It’s a thriller about an innocent man being pursued across London by police and a hitman.

In joint third spot, with seven votes each, are Henrietta and Jessica Ashworth’s comedy “Olivia and Jim” from Forward Films, and Hong Khaou’s drama “Lilting the Past” from producer Dominic Buchanan, about a bereaved mother trying to make sense of her son’s death.

Origin Pictures has two other highly-placed projects on the list, playwright Polly Stenham’s adaptation of her own play “Tusk Tusk,” and James Graham’s “X+Y” about a teenage math prodigy’s quest to find the formula for love. Both received six votes, along with “Man Up” by Tess Morris, a romantic comedy being developed by Big Talk for Studiocanal.

The list includes several titles by high-profile writers. William Davies, whose credits include “Johnny English Reborn” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” has five votes for his drama “Second Is Nowhere,” in development at BBC Films.

Among the scripts with four votes are the Focus Features project “Baghdad Wedding,” adapted by Hassan Abdulrassak from his own play, in tandem with Nick Drake; Jay Basu’s crime thriller “Bad Traffic” for producers David Gerson, Nick Wechsler and Rory Gilmartin; and Juliette Towhidi’s adaptation of Vera Brittan’s classic WW1 memoir “Testament of Youth” for Heyday.

Also with four votes are Sebastian Foster’s Western “Burnthaven” for Cloud Eight Films, and Catherine Shepherd’s comedy “Like a Virgin” about a contemporary and unvirginal Mary who learns she’s going to give birth to the next Messiah.

Scripts with three votes include “The Invisible Woman,” about the mistress of Charles Dickens, written by Abi Morgan (“Shame,” “The Iron Lady”); and two adaptations of John LeCarre novels. “Our Kind of Traitor,” adapted by Hossein Amini (“Drive”), and “A Most Wanted Man,” adapted by Andrew Bovell (“Lantana”) with Anton Corbijn set to direct. Both LeCarre projects are being developed by Ink Factory and Potboiler Prods.

Other notable projects with three votes include “Miss You Already,” by director Paul Andrew Williams and comedienne Morwenna Banks; an adaptation of Edith Wharton’s “The Buccaneers” by Heidi Thomas for Ruby Films; a David Nicholls version of Thomas Hardy’s novel “Far From the Madding Crowd” for DNA Films; and “I, Macrobane,” a black comedy by writer/director Ben Wheatley, being developed by Big Talk.

Completing the list are Amber Trentham and Thomas Carty’s romantic thriller “Available Light;” Trevor Preston’s thriller “The Chinese Busker;” Nicholas Horwood’s horror script “The Good People;” Howard Overman’s comedy thriller “The Slackfi Project,” in development at Sony; David F. Shamoon’s road movie “Taking Off;” and Joshua St Johnston’s musical “Walking on Sunshine” with Vertigo.

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