Five upcoming movies based on Black List scripts
The Black List is an annual compilation of around 50 unproduced scripts deemed best by studio executives. Black List scripts tend to be true stories, original comedies, or book adaptions. Often, they wind up as Oscar contenders. In fact, four of the last 10 Best Picture winners were originally Black List scripts.
While Black List does have a program for amateurs to host their work, only a small percentage make it into production. Sometimes the scripts that are produced end up as big box office hits or award contenders. Sometimes they flop, badly. Either way, the Black List is a good gauge of what to watch next. Here are five Black List scripts scheduled for release in 2018 or 2019.
1. On the Basis of Sex
If a movie about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg starring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer titled On the Basis of Sex isn’t Oscar bait, then what is? On the Basis of Sex follows a young Ginsburg and her work on the case Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld to declare gender-based discrimination illegal. Spoiler alert: Ginsburg wins the case. Armie Hammer stars as Ginsburg’s husband. Cailee Spaeny, who just starred in Pacific Rim Uprising, will play her daughter. Ginsburg herself is set to have a cameo. Focus Features will distribute the film and it won’t be the first time RBG has been depicted on the big screen this year. The Magnolia Pictures documentary RBG opened in May and has grossed almost $14 million.
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2. White Boy Rick
Here comes another true story, this one about a minor. Ricky Wershe Jr. was the youngest FBI informant ever. However, as with other government informants, his story didn’t end according to plan. White Boy Rick began as a spec script by Logan and Noah Miller. It was acquired in early 2015 and got onto the list later that year. Matthew McConaughey stars as Weshe’s father and the film will introduce 15-year-old Richie Merritt as Ricky himself. Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin, and John Lesher will be producing. All three of them have produced major Oscar contenders before; White Boy Rick might have the material to be one as well. It is scheduled for a September 14 release.
John F. Kennedy’s assassination has sparked many adaptations on the silver screen, but this one will focus on how it was covered. Newsflash stars Seth Rogen as CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite. Similar to last year’s The Post (which was also based on a Black List script), the film follows journalists uncovering 1960s bombshell news. After Kennedy’s death, Cronkite was known as “the most trusted man in America” as his words guided the nation through some of its darkest days. Logan Lerman was in negotiations to star as Dan Rather while Mark Ruffalo and Bryan Cranston are rumored for roles as well. The film is directed by David Gordon Green who has worked with Rogen before on Pineapple Express, while also working on dramas such as Our Brand Is Crisis and this year’s Halloween. Production on Newsflash is planned to begin in March.
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4. Life Itself
Who doesn’t love a great big bidding war? In the case of Life Itself, it was around a romantic comedy. Back in December 2016, the script topped the Black List. Combine that with the fact that the writer also created NBC’s hit drama series This Is Us and you have three major studios fighting over a rom-com. Amazon Studios wound up getting the film for over $10 million, beating Paramount and Universal. Life Itself stars Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, and Olivia Cooke, among others. The story centers around numerous people in New York and Spain and how their lives intersect. The film opens on September 21.
5. Bird Box
Who doesn’t love a great Netflix blockbuster? Bird Box is a post-apocalyptic horror thriller based on the novel by Josh Malerman. In the film Sandra Bullock stars as a mother who must protect her children from aliens. While originally developed at Universal, producer Scott Stuber brought the movie over to Netflix. The screenplay, which made it onto the 2014 Black List, was penned by Eric Heisserer, who also wrote the 2016 sci-fi hit Arrival and the well-received horror film Lights Out. Bird Box is headed to Netflix’s database in late December of this year. With Sandra Bullock acting her heart out as a desperate mother, Netflix is surely expected to snag some awards. They proved with Mudbound that they’re certainly able to do so and just a few months ago acquired top award strategist Lisa Taback.