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2013 Black List/Hit List Selections Include Moon Landings, Memory Thieves, And Carl Sagan’s Love Life

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MoonIt’s a big day in the screenwriting world. The infamous Black List released its 2013 edition today, compiling a list of the “most liked” unproduced screenplays from the year, as voted on by film executives. The so-called “Hit List” is a newer creation, having only begun releasing a public version of the list in 2010. Its results are based on nominations and votes by a board of development execs, producers, writers, agents, managers, directors, and assistants. The Hit List also focuses specifically on spec scripts — scripts shopped around by writers unsolicited, rather than written as assignments. As such, the Hit List is all about celebrating fresh emerging talent.

Together, the two Lists provide a glimpse into many of the films that we’ll be seeing and hopefully celebrating in the years to come — and quite a few brilliant gems that, sadly, will never make it to the screen. There’s a ton of science fiction represented on the list, as well as “based on real events” looks at the lives of folks like 2001 director Stanley Kubrick and the legendary Carl Sagan. Here’s our guide to some of the science fiction movies just over the horizon.

“1969: A Space Odyssey, or: How How Kubrick Learned to Stop Worrying and Land on the Moon” by Stephany Folsom (56 votes on Hit List 2013)
We’re doing this alphabetically, which unfortunately means we have to open with a script based on one of the great pillars of pseudoscience and conspiracy theories, the notion that we faked the Moon landings. More specifically, Folsom’s 1969 sounds like it centers on the idea that Kubrick was enlisted by the government to help foist that con on the world, a story that also played heavily in the documentary Room 237. Still, a thing doesn’t have to be true to be entertaining, and with 56 votes on the Hit List, it sounds like Folsom has crafted a ripping yarn indeed. As of now, the script has not been picked up.

In 1969, a strong-willed female in a male-dominated workplace is tasked with getting the world’s most temperamental director, Stanley Kubrick, to pull off the greatest con of all time.

“Anonymity” by Shane Joseph Willis (7 votes on Hit List 2013)
Willis hasn’t had his first breakthrough hit yet, with his only credits so far being a pair of short films: 2008’s Monarch and 2011’s Run to the Horizon.

In the future, a corporate thief who replaces his own memories with the identities of those around him must race against time to recover a stolen virus threatening to bring down the whole system if he ever wants to restore his own memory and reunite with his beloved wife.

“The Bermuda Triangle” by Daniel Kunka (26 votes on Hit List 2013)
Kunka previously wrote the 2009 Renny Harlin action flick 12 Rounds, starring John Cena. Warner Bros. paid mid-six figures to acquite The Bermuda Triangle this past April, and Warners apparently wants to “use the Bermuda Triangle mythology — planes and ships go missing — and turn it into a tent pole action franchise.”

After the Bermuda Triangle mysteriously starts to expand and threatens Earth with a global disaster, a disgraced fighter pilot, a burly scientists, and a plucky NTSB investigator team up to stop it.

“Blind Sky” by Jeff Walton (9 votes on Hit List 2013)

Pitched as Bourne Identity with an elevated twist. Suffering impaired memory following a car accident that no human should have survived, a Pentagon employee accused of targeting the U.S. satellite defense system must elude a multi-agency dragnet and shadowy forces as he tries to figure out who or what he is and if he’s betrayed his country…or the entire human race.

“The Breathtaking Blue” by Jason Marx (40 votes on Hit List 2013)
This is one of those out-there concepts that could go horribly wrong, ala The Core, so the trick will be to get us invested enough in the characters and story that we can suspend our disbelief about the ridiculous notion driving the movie forward. Although I am looking forward to the various means the characters will come up with to keep from falling “up.”

After Earth’s gravity mysteriously reverses, a group of survivors desperately try to discover the origin to the mind-bending disaster. All while they must cling to the planet’s surface to keep from falling ‘down’ into the sky below them.

“The Bright and Hollow Sky” by Robin Fox (32 votes on Hit List 2013)
The Bright and Hollow Sky hasn’t been picked up yet, but it was a 2012 Nicholl Semifinalist. Fox has set up a Facebook page for the script — an odd but clever idea — right here, where you will theoretically be able to keep track of any future developments.

Two boys, alone in different parts of the country, struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world of brutality and loss.

“Capsule” by Ian Shorr (51 votes on Hit List 2013, 8 on Black List 2013)
I haven’t read Capsule, but I did read Shorr’s Cristo, a futuristic retelling of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, and it was good fun. Shorr has two produced feature credits: 2008’s Rigged and Splinter. He also hold the impressive bragging rights of having two of his scripts on this year’s Hit List: Capsule and Spring Falls. Capsule is in the works at 20th Century Fox, with Hutch Parker Entertainment producing.

A young man mysteriously begins to receive metallic capsules containing messages from his future self.

“Criminal” by David Weisberg & Douglas Cook (22 votes on Hit List 2013)
These guys actually wrote the 1996 action classic The Rock, starring Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery. They’ve had a few other produced credits since then, but nothing at the same level of success. Criminal is in the works from Nu Image/Millennium Films, with Benderspink producing.

The right man in the wrong body. A dead CIA agent’s memories, secrets and skills are implanted into an unpredictable and dangerous prison inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission.

“Extinction” by Spenser Cohen (30 votes on Hit List 2013, 8 on Black List 2013)
This is one busy dude. He’s sold three spec scripts in the last year or so, and he’s also worked on director Roland Emmerich’s sci-fi project Singularity. Extinction is being produced by Good Universe & Mandeville Films.

When Peter’s dreams about an alien invasion become reality, he fights desperately to protect his family while on the run from the invading forces. Along the way, he starts to question the reality of the world he’s living in, leading to a final reveal that flips the table on him and the audience.

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