Franklin Leonard has unveiled the 2018 Black List, which chronicles the most liked unproduced screenplays in a given calendar year, as voted on by over 300 industry executives. This year’s list— the 13th edition—features a slew of biopics, including scripts about the founders of Snapchat and the Drudge Report, as well as embattled sports reporter A.J. Daulerio, astronaut Sally Ride, the infamous Colonel Custer, media luminary Wendi Deng and tennis dad Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena Williams, plus Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Sharon Osbourne, Vanilla Ice, Samuel L. Jackson and many more.
Elissa Karasik‘s Frat Boy Genius chronicles the rise of Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel through the eyes of a disgruntled employee who went to Stanford with him. Last year’s list was topped by Matthew Firpo and Ryan Firpo’s Ruin, which will head into production this summer with Matthias Schoenaerts and Margot Robbie hunting down and killing the surviving members of a SS death squad in post-WWII Germany. The year before that, Elyse Hollander‘s Madonna biopic Blond Ambition topped the list, while Isaac Adamson‘s script about Michael Jackson’s chimpanzee Bubbles drew the most votes in 2015. The latter project is in development at Netflix as a stop-motion animated movie from Taika Waititi.
Black List scripts have won 10 of the last 22 screenwriting Oscars and four of the last 10 Best Picture winners. Recent titles include I, Tonya, The Post and All the Money In the World. Nearly a third of this year’s Black List scripts were written by women and more than 40% were female-driven. Personally, I’ve heard good things about King Richard and Just the Facts, and I love the logline for Happy Anniversary. Take a look below and see what strikes your fancy.
FRAT BOY GENIUS by Elissa Karasik
Logline: A disgruntled employee of Snapchat tells the rise of her former Stanford classmate, preeminent douchebag and current boss Evan Spiegel.
KING RICHARD by Zach Baylin
Logline: The true story of Richard Williams, the hard-nosed and uncompromising father of tennis prodigies turned superstars, Venus and Serena Williams.
Producers: Star Thrower Entertainment
GET HOME SAFE by Christy Hall
Logline: A young woman must get home by herself on Halloween with no cell phone battery and a group of gamergate trolls out to get her.
Producers: Grey Matter, Christy Hall, Eric Heisserer
DRUDGE by Cody Brotter
Logline: The story of how oddball internet reporter Matt Drudge broke the Lewinsky Scandal and nearly took down a presidency, all from a desktop computer in his one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood.
Producer: Ben LeClair
HARRY’S ALL NIGHT HAMBURGERS by Steve Desmond, Michael Anthony Sherman
Logline: A down-on-his-luck high school senior discovers that the old roadside diner outside of town is secretly a hangout for parallel universe travelers. He sets off on a mind-bending adventure across the multiverse that takes him beyond his wildest dreams.
Financier: Warner Bros.
Producers: Mad Chance
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN by Emerald Fennell
Logline: Still hurting years later from the suicide of her mistreated best friend, a woman is torn between seeking vengeance on the lost friend’s behalf and moving on with her life.
COBWEB by Chris Thomas Devlin
Logline: Peter has always been told the voice he hears at night is only in his head, but when he suspects his parents have been lying, he conspires to free the girl within the walls of his house.
Producers: Vertigo Entertainment, Point Grey Pictures
THE WORST GUY OF ALL TIME (AND THE GIRL WHO CAME TO KILL HIM) by Michael Waldron
Logline: Barret is a social media influencer, the worst guy ever, and the eventual President of the United States. Dixie is a badass freedom fighter, sent back from 2076 to kill him before he takes over the world and ruins the future. They fucking hate each other. Then they accidentally fall in love.
Producers: Stampede Ventures
ANALYTICA by Scott F. Conroy
Logline: The true story of Chris Wylie and Cambridge Analytica.
Producers: Imagine Entertainment
THE BROODMARE by Michael Voyer
Logline: When a recovering member of Alcoholics Anonymous decides to make amends with his high school sweetheart, he soon realizes that her newfound love of equines may have some darker, more sinister connections.
Producers: Dark Castle, XYZ Films
COVERS by Flora Greeson
Logline: The longtime assistant of a famous singer must navigate the rocky waters of the LA music scene to make her dreams of producing music a reality.
Financier: Universal Pictures
Producers: Working Title
THE BISCUIT by Jack Waz
Logline: In 1998, a teacher and her veteran husband find a way to afford the family they’ve always dreamed of: by selling America’s nuclear launch codes after President Bill Clinton loses them.
JUST THE FACTS by Kenny Kyle
Logline: The riveting true story of AJ Daulerio’s meteoric rise from obscure sports blogger to Editor-in-Chief of Gawker Media during the wild, heady early days of the digital journalism boom, culminating in the Hulk Hogan sex tape trial, which brought about Gawker’s downfall and set a precedent for billionaires to attack the media and free speech.
Financier: First Look Media
Producers: Exhibit A
THE SEVENTH by Reiss Clauson-Wolf, Julian Silver
Logline: A look at the regiment led by Colonel Custer in the days leading up to the disastrous fight at Little Bighorn against Sitting Bull.
BAG MAN by Alex Convey
Logline: Atticus Archer is college football’s version of a fixer. As he juggles chasing the nation’s top prospect, a mental breakdown from a star quarterback, and his own personal demons, an NCAA agent arrives on campus to threaten everything.
GRACE by Will Lowell
Logline: When Grace and her husband Jay retreat to an empty vacation island to escape his grueling political campaign, Grace begins reliving traumatic experiences from her past, forcing her to question what is real. After she discovers that powerful people behind Jay’s campaign have been manipulating her experiences, Grace’s struggle to retain her sanity becomes an all too real fight for survival.
Producer: Marc Evans
IN RETROSPECT by Brett Treacy, Dan Woodward
Logline: When a man’s estranged wife gets lost inside of her own mind during an experimental procedure, he must navigate her subconscious to find her in the memories of their past.
Producers: Jackson Pictures
RUB & TUG by Gary Spinelli
Logline: In 1970s Pittsburgh, Dante “Tex” Gill (fka Jean Marie Gill) runs a massage parlor and steroids operation that challenges the mob, rising to power with the support of the gay community and girlfriend Cynthia.
Producers: Material Pictures, Silver Pictures
OUR CONDOLENCES by Greg Kalleres
Logline: A couple navigates their relationship after another couple, with whom they’re close, tragically loses their child.
Producers: Maven Pictures
QUEENS OF THE STONED AGE by Elyse Hollander
Logline: Forced out of a fashion industry that exploited her, former model Honey stumbles into dealing weed to make ends meet – and soon discovers a gift for it. Hiring all her model friends to work with her, they quickly become one of the biggest weed dealers in New York City, knowing all the right people and using their looks and charm to avoid detection. But their success soon brings all the wrong kinds of attention… and they find themselves in a fight for their lives. Based on a true story.
Financier: Sony Pictures
Producers: Escape Artists, Inimitable Pictures
MEET CUTE by Noga Pnueli
Logline: When a woman finds a time machine in a downtown Manhattan nail salon, she uses it to keep traveling back in time 24 hours to make her previous night’s date perfect.
Producers: Weed Road Pictures
TILLMAN by Sean Thomas
Logline: When former NFL player Pat Tillman is killed in battle, his family uncovers the truth from the United States government who lied about the circumstances of his death.
Producers: Rocklin Faust
TO THE EXTREME by Chris Goodwin and Phillip Van
Logline: From a high school dropout selling used cars in Dallas to having the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts with Ice Ice Baby, a young Vanilla Ice struggles with stardom, extortion attempts, and selling out as he makes music history.
Producers: No Trace Camping, Ramona Films
DEAD DADS CLUB by Amanda Idoko
Logline: A high schooler, in an effort to find a more interesting story for her college scholarship application, lies about her father’s recent death. But when the father tries to take advantage of the lie by faking his own death, the high schooler’s nemesis investigates, and bodies start piling up.
Producer/Financier: No Trace Camping
THE FASTEST GAME by Katie Werner, Zach Wernerr
Logline: Miami, 1975. Ronnie Weiss, a law school graduate primed to start his life, is suddenly saddled with his late- father’s enormous gambling debt and thrust into a world he has desperately tried to avoid. To climb out of the hole and escape a notorious Miami Beach bookie, Ronnie and a childhood friend devise a betting system that exploits the glamorous, high-stakes sport of Jai Alai, making millions of dollars and enemies of the Boston Mob and Federal Government in the process. Based on a true story.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERCA V. BILL GATES by Justin Kremer
Logline: An inexperienced and idealistic twentysomething finds himself at the center of the largest anti-trust suit in modern American history when his idol, billionaire behemoth Bill Gates, wages war against his young internet company.
Producers: Dream About Films
BLACK FLIES by Ryan King
Logline: A young man becomes an emergency medical technician in Harlem as a temporary stop before he enters medical school. There, he experiences a range of crises and stressful misadventures, including a mentor who has been numbed to the point that he makes a wrong decision in a life-and-death situation.
Financier: Mad River
Producers: AZA Films, Two & Two Pictures
BOLSA NEGRA by Dave Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel
Logline: A down and out sports agent risks everything to bring a star Cuban baseball player back to the United States to play in the Major Leagues. Based on an amalgamation of true stories detailing the rise of the League’s movement to smuggle Cuban baseball players into the US during the 1990s.
Producers: Impossible Dream Entertainment
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY by Holly Brix
Logline: A couple’s wedding anniversary is interrupted by a home invasion.
Producers: Platinum Dunes
HAPPY LITTLE TREES by Shawn Dwyer
Logline: After Bill Alexander’s long-running show “The Magic of Oil Painting” was cancelled by PBS and replaced with Bob Ross’ show, “The Joy of Oil Painting,” Alexander accuses the soft-spoken afro’d Ross of stealing his act, inciting a bitter dispute that changed the lives of both men forever. Based on a true story.
Producers: Unique Features
JUST A GIRL by Bill Kennedy
Logline: After the United States survives a vampire war, a young human girl going through puberty learns that she may be turning into a vampire.
THE LIBERATORS by Madison Turner
Logline: At the height of World War II, a headstrong African-American tank commander and his crew plow through wartorn Europe, determined to prove themselves as equals and bring Hitler to his knees.
Financier: Warner Bros.
Producers: Outlier Society, Safehouse
73 SECONDS by Shawn Dwyer
Logline: The extraordinary true story of Bob Ebeling and Roger Boisjoly, the aerospace engineers who discovered the “o-ring anomaly” that led to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. After struggling to convince their superiors at Morton-Thiokol and NASA to investigate the anomaly, Ebeling and Boisjoly were tasked with proving it: an extremely complicated and expensive endeavor that took an emotional toll on their lives but helped bring about changes to the Shuttle Program that saved the lives of future astronauts.
Producer: Adam Goodman
THE BEAST by Aaron Sala
Logline: After a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean, a woman finds herself marooned on an island with a bloodthirsty beast.
BLUR by Jacob Colman
Logline: When a guy in a committed relationship starts to suspect that the avatar he’s been digitally hooking up with might belong to his best friend’s girlfriend, he becomes entangled in something he can’t quite understand.
Producer: Burn Later Productions, Diego Boneta, Echo Lake Entertainment
CONVICTION by Chris Kekaniokalani Bright
Logline: The incredible true story of the final trial of Clarence Darrow, the greatest attorney of the 20th century who for the first and only time in his career was fighting for the wrong side. Darrow defends a wealthy white family caught murdering a native Hawaiian boy whom they wrongfully accused of raping their daughter.
Producers: Aaron and Jordan Kandell
DARK by Nelson Greaves
Logline: When the crew of an oil rig begins to drill on one of the deepest stretches of the ocean floor, they awake a dark and dangerous creature that has been hidden away for hundreds of years.
Financier: Paramount Pictures
Producers: Platinum Dunes
KILL THE LEOPARD by Mattson Tomlin
Logline: A henchman-turned-terrorist has a bone to pick with an idolized vigilante. When he takes control of a city skyscraper, the hero known as the Leopard comes to the rescue – but when both the terrorist and the Leopard are overtaken by the hostages, a kangaroo court evolves as the hostages navigate their complex histories with the vigilante.
THE KINGS OF COOL by Jon Dorsey
Logline: During segregation in the 1960s American South, a nerdy teen tries to win a student election at an all-black high school, but he’ll have to defeat a blossoming badass named Samuel L. Jackson to do so. Based on a true story.
MAMBA by Mike Schneider
Logline: A chronicle of the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case in the early 2000s, based on reports, court transcripts, and police interviews.
(PLEASE) MATERNITY LEAVE by Ari Berkowitz, Ava Tramer
Logline: Two friends try to get their third friend pregnant so they can stop hanging out with her.
QUEEN & SLIM by Lena Waithe
Logline:The story of a black man and a black woman whose first date goes awry after they are pulled over by a police officer at a traffic stop. After killing the police officer in self-defense, they decide against turning themselves in and go on the run.
Financier: Make Ready, Universal
Producers: De Le Revolucion, Hillman Grad, Makeready, The Mission, 3BlackDot
SADDAM & ME by Larry Cohen
Logline: The true story of the FBI’s interrogation of Saddam, carried out by a special agent whose family came to the US as refugees from Lebanon, ultimately leading to the discovery that there were no WMDs in Iraq.
CI-34 by Sascha Penn
Logline: The FBI pairs a young African-American agent with Greg Scarpa, the most notorious hitman in mafia history, to solve the murder of a civil rights activist in 1966 Mississippi.
Producers: Madhouse, Sascha Penn, Nine Stories, Chadwick Boseman & Logan Coles
THE DEFENDER by Nicholas Mariani
Logline: At the height of Jim Crow, a courageous black attorney with the audacious name of Scipio Africanus Jones risks his life and career to defend eighty-seven men wrongfully accused of murder, taking the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court and achieving a stunning victory that will change American history forever. Based on a true story.
Producers: 21 Laps
ESCHER by Jason Kessler
Logline: Famed artist M.C. Escher reluctantly uses his unique view of the world to help the Dutch Resistance fight Nazi occupation during WWII. Inspired by true events.
THE HALF OF IT by Alice Wu
Logline: A smart, lonely teen is commissioned by the high school running-back to write love letters to the object of his, and her, affection.
Producer: Anthony Bregman
HARE by Jason Rostovsky
Logline: What starts as a fun day for a group of friends in the woods turns into a living nightmare for one rabbit.
INFIDELS by Mark Bianculli
Logline: When a US soldier learns that her Army medic brother is being held hostage by a sadistic ISIS executioner, she deserts her military post and enlists the help of a group of female renegade Kurdish fighters to bring justice when their armies won’t help them.
Producers: Star Thrower Entertainment
NAKED IS THE BEST DISGUISE by Graham Moore
Logline: In a near future in which illegal new technology allows specific memories to be removed from one person’s brain and inserted into anothers, a woman who deals in black market memories is accused of murdering a man she does not remember knowing.
Financier: Studio 8
Producers: Scott Free
POPULAR by Hannah Hafey, Kaitlin Smith
Logline: A story of power, betrayal, scandal, and deceit – you know, high school.
Producers: The Arlook Group, Berlanti Productions
QUEEN by Harry Tarre
Logline: Based on the inspiring true story of the world’s first openly transgender high school Prom Queen, Corey Rae.
THE SECOND LIFE OF BEN HASKINS by Matt Kic, Mike Sorce
Logline: Ben Haskins loses his battle with cancer, leaving his beloved wife Kat a widow. About twenty years later, a mysterious new technology has brought Ben’s consciousness back – but into a different body, one belonging to a more recently deceased man. After acclimating to his new self, Ben asks to be reunited with his long lost wife, only to discover she has opted never to see him again. Convinced this must be a mistake, Ben enlists a new friend to help him in the search to win back the love of his (former) life.
THE 29TH ACCIDENT by Alanna Brown
Logline: A young man tragically loses his wife on the day of their wedding. He is devastated, until four years later on their wedding anniversary, he awakens to find his beloved wife alive and well beside him.
Producers: Berlanti Productions
UNTITLED COAST GUARD by Alex Sohn
Logline: An inexperienced Coast Guard Captain is put to the test after she unknowingly intercepts one of the world’s most dangerous drug lords. With a hurricane bearing down on them, the captain and her crew must defend the ship against a series of unrelenting attacks. Based on “Drug War On the High Seas: Onboard the Coast Guards Billion-Dollar Busts” by Hunter Atkins.
Producers: 21 Laps
WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD by Ross Lazar, Sebastian Shepard
Logline: When a new job transplants an upper-middle class family from San Francisco into an up-and-coming neighborhood outside of Portland, they don’t get the neighborly welcome they were expecting.
YOUNG. WILD. FREE. by Tony Rettenmaier, Juel Taylor
Logline: A teenager struggling to provide for his younger siblings in Compton finds his life turned upside down when he’s held at gunpoint by the girl of his dreams.
Producers: No Label
YOUR BOY by Matt Whitaker
Logline: Home for the summer on Long Island, a shy black college student comes out to his oldest and closest friend. But after an internship in Manhattan leads him to an exhilarating gay social scene, the 21-year-old is caught between his newly confident lifestyle and the unpopular straight friend who once knew him best.
Producers: Marc Platt Productions
AMA (ASK ME ANYTHING) by John Wikstrom
Logline: A highly publicized AMA (Q&A) session between a fast-rising publicist and an aging music icon quickly turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse when the event is seized by a hacker who systematically beings revealing dark secrets from both of their pasts, forcing them to publicly confront the horrific events they’ve committed on the largest social media platform in the world.
AT RISK by Jenny Halper
Logline: Told through the eyes of ten year old Charlie in 1986, a family struggles to stay intact when an AIDS diagnosis makes them pariahs in their small New England town. Based on Alice Hoffman’s novel.
Producers: Daughter Films, Washington Square Films
GUNFIGHT by Jake Disch
Logline: A satirical take on the unbelievable but true story of how the NRA changed overnight from an apolitical gun safety and marksmanship club into the most powerful and unhinged lobbying group in Washington, DC.
Producers: Star Throwing Entertainment, Linne Radmin
INHUMAN NATURE by Matt Fisch
Logline: When bio-tech titan Van Danzen is falsely convicted of murdering his business partner, he sends his greatest creation – a spitting-image humanoid robot – to serve a life sentence in his place. However, the humanoid’s militarized programming sends him on a rampage to escape prison and hunt those responsible for his creator’s set-up and imprisonment.
THE INTERVENTIONIST by Colin Bannon
Logline: When renowned interventionist Warren Man’s daughter, Christy, suffers a relapse and her family is forced to deal with their inner demons at the site of a tragedy that tore them apart, it slowly becomes clear that this is no ordinary relapse, but something much more sinister.
Producers: Hopscotch Pictures
ISLEWORTH by Charlie Efron
Logline: After their marriage is shattered by the most public sex scandal in sports history, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren scramble to pick up the pieces while hiding out from the press and the police in their Florida mansion.
Producers: Bellevue Productions
LITTLE FISH by Mattson Tomlin
Logline: A couple fights to hold their relationship together as a memory loss virus spreads and threatens to erase the history of their love and courtship.
Financier: Tango Entertainment
Producers: Automatik, Mattson Tomlin
ME & TAMMY FAYE AT THE BETTY FORD CLINIC by Pamela Garcia Rooney
Logline: The unlikely bond between a Latinx transgender woman and the queen of Christian televangelism. Inspired by the very real life of Tammy Faye Bakker.
NOBODY NOTHING NOWHERE by Alex Fischer, Rachel Wolther
Logline: Ruth is one of the non-people: human-looking beings designed and trained for the sole purpose of filling in a realistic world for a bland guy named Dave, the only person to actually exist on Earth. Tired of serving as an extra in someone else’s life, she has the audacity to demand a life of her own.
Producers: Department of Motion Pictures
ONE NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI by Michele Atkins
Logline: An elderly black man in present day with onset dementia must confront the secrets of his past in order to pursue a man, thought deceased, involved in the white supremacist killing of his brother in 1964 Mississippi.
Producers: Caviar, Francey Grace
RIDE by Krystin Ver Linden
Logline: The story of NASA’s least likely female candidate, Sally Ride, as she becomes America’s most likely hero as the first American woman in space.
Producers: Burr! Entertainment
SHARON by Ryan Jaffe
Logline: Sharon Osbourne tells the story of her relationship with Ozzy before they were married.
SPARK by Meredith Dawson
Logline: When a young African-American woman takes a job at a well-known venture capitalist firm in Silicon Valley, she must figure out a way to succeed in an elitist society where she feels inherently excluded.
Financier: Amazon Studios
Producers: Hello Sunshine
UNTITLED SYRIA PROJECT by Stephanie Carrie
Logline: A disillusioned and indoctrinated American teenage girl travels to Syria to help ISIS build their Caliphate and, what she has been led to believe, is a better world. Through her relationship with an everyday Syrian family, she will discover the true face of Islam and the courage to fight for what is right against insurmountable odds.
Producers: LINK Entertainment, LuckyChap
WENDI by Amy Wang
Logline: When an ambitious girl from the slums of China manipulates her way into marriage with a media tycoon, she becomes one of the most powerful women in the Western world. This is the story of Wendi Deng, second wife of Rupert Murdoch.