‘Tis the season for lists, and the so-called Black List is again circulating around town, bringing Yuletide cheer for the scribes who made the cut as well as their agents, who will surely be getting a little extra helping of bonus pie this year.
As in years past, the list was compiled from surveys of more than “90 film executives and high-level assistants” on what their favorite scripts were in 2006. Screenplays had to be written over the last 12 months — or be “somehow uniquely associated with 2006” — and not released in theaters during the calendar year.
As for how much mojo the Black List packs, of last year’s top five picks, three have been filmed and are awaiting release (Paramount/DreamWorks’ “Things We Lost in the Fire”; Sidney Kimmel Entertainment’s “Lars and the Real Girl,” which MGM is releasing); and Universal’s “Charlie Wilson’s War”). The others are set up at studios, in various stages of development and pre-production.
And as for the Black List’s counterintuitive name, the list’s anonymous author explains: “All irony aside, black is the new white.”
The year’s top-polling projects:
1. “The Brigands of Rattleborge” by Craig Zahler. (Set up at Warner Bros. with Vertigo Entertainment producing.)
2. “State of Play” by Matt Carnahan. (Set up at Universal with Andell Entertainment producing. Brad Pitt has been mentioned to star.)
3. “Rendition” by Kelley Sane. (Set up at New Line with Anonymous Content producing. Gavin Hood is directing, and Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gylenhaal are starring.)
4. “Villain” by Josh Zetumer. (2929 Prods. and Silverwood Films are producing. John Stockwell is directing.)
5 (tie). “The Grackle” by Mike Arnold and Chris Poole (Set up at New Line with j.k. livin producing and Matthew McConaughey starring.); and “These City Walls” by Caleb Kane (not set up).