If you pay much attention to the movie business, you’ve probably heard of the annual Black List, even if you aren’t sure exactly what it is. Not to be confused with the Joseph McCarthy/communism-hunting versions, this Black List is an annual listing of the best unproduced scripts in Hollywood, as chosen and voted upon by around 500 or so of the top film development execs. It’s occasionally a motley list, but many of the Black List scripts have gone on to huge critical and box office success. Past winners have included the upcoming Tom Cruise sci-fi flick All You Need Is Kill, the truth-stranger-than-fiction Argo, and the found-footage hit Chronicle.
This year’s list includes some scripts that could be the much-buzzed science fiction flicks we’ll all be gossiping about a few years down the road. Check out the highlights from the list below.
STORY OF YOUR LIFE by Eric Heisserer
Based on the short story by Ted Chiang. When alien crafts land around the world, a linguistics expert is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit.
Heisserer has been on my radar for years, since he wrote a great little trippy horror script called Dionaea House, which sadly has never been produced. In recent years he’s penned The Thing prequel, Final Destination 5, and the Nightmare on Elm Street remake. Not a stellar resume, but I think he’s got the makings of something awesome in him if he gets the right material. Hopefully Story of Your Life will fit the bill.
GLIMMER by Carter Blanchard
When three friends go missing on a camping trip in a forest rumored to be haunted, the two left behind discover clues that lead them to a safe deposit box containing video tapes… showing exactly what happened to their friends.
The IMDb Pro listing for Glimmer is a bit less coy with the plot details than the official Blacklist write-up, revealing that the story involves the friends discovering a portal to the past, and then mucking up the timeline, as people are wont to do.
AMERICATOWN by Ben Poole
In a China-dominated near future, a former LAPD officer attempts to save his family from destitution in Los Angeles by working for a crime lord in the American ghetto within a thriving Hong Kong.
MAN OF TOMORROW by Jeremy Slater
In an alternate 1940s reality, the US Government makes a deal with an indestructible gangster to kill Hilter in exchange for the city of Chicago, which he will build into his own utopia. Unfortunately his model city never comes to fruition and both he and his Bureau liaison get much of the slack for destroying one of America’s greatest cities and now the government wants him dead.
THE SURVIVALIST by Stephen Fingleton
Years after lack of resources result in much of the world’s population dying off, a survivalist is living on a farm alone until a woman and her seventeen year old daughter show up looking for cover.
OUR NAME IS ADAM by T.S. Nowlin
An astronaut travels back in time to enlist the help of his younger self.
Word is that Tom Cruise may star in this one, continuing his recent string of sci-fi projects(including All You Need Is Kill and Oblivion).
THE PORTLAND CONDITION by Dan Cohn, Jeremy Miller
Set against the backdrop of rainy Portland, Oregon, a young man finds himself falling in love for the first time – only to receive a letter from his future self, warning him of impending heartbreak.
SOMACELL by Ashleigh Powell
A female prison guard in the future, where prisoners are rehabilitated with virtual reality, discovers a conspiracy that puts her loyalty into question.
GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR TOM by Jason Micallef
After nine years, a NASA communications expert reconnects with the astronaut she believed to be dead and helps rescue him from space.
HIBERNATION by Will Frank, Geneva Robertson-Dworet
A wrongly convicted inmate volunteers for a hibernation experiment in exchange for one day of parole every five years, which he uses to prove his innocence and search for his missing daughter across an increasingly futuristic landscape.
TRANSCENDENCE by Jack Paglen
An epic love story set in a time where a dying scientist is able to upload his consciousness into the internet and, facing its global implications, must fight against the forces who are actively working against the existence of a singularity.
This is the high-profile directorial debut of longtime Christopher Nolan collaborator/cinematographer Wally Pfister. Johnny Depp is set to star.
ALMANAC by Jason Pagan, Andrew Stark
A group of high school kids discover how to time travel, but fail to recognize the potential consequences.
This is the found-footage flick being produced by Michael Bay.
PESTE by Barbara Marshall
Following the outbreak of a virus that wipes out the majority of the human population, a teen documents her family’s new life in quarantine and tries to protect her infected sister.
The full Black List is available at the official webpage.