The Black List, a list of the best unshot scripts of any given year, as picked by a group of almost 300 film executives, came out yesterday afternoon. Reading through it, I was struck by some trends—lots of scripts by guys, lots of bank robberies, lots of science fiction but almost almost no fantasy. But I was intrigued by a lot of the projects on the list, and these ten which most caught my eye are just a few of the scripts that seek out political resonance, or have settings like the Dust Bowl or Bleeding Kansas.
Author: Young Il Kim
Description: “During the height of the Watergate scandal, rising star Hillary Rodham is the youngest lawyer chosen for the House Judiciary Committee to Impeach Nixon, but she soon finds herself forced to choose between a destined path to the White House and her unresolved feelings for Bill Clinton, her former boyfriend who now teaches law in Arkansas.”
Why I’m Curious: Hillary Rodham Clinton is a fascinating figure. And people have asked for years why she chose to stay with Bill Clinton, it’s an intriguing question how she chose him, and life in Arkansas, in the first place. There are a lot of movies that attempt to capture election zeitgeists, and I wouldn’t be remotely surprised to see Harvey Weinstein snap this one up for a 2016 release. But this is a smarter-than-usual way to approach a figure about whom so much has written that it seems like nothing new could be revealed.
Script: Story Of Your Life
Author: Eric Heisserer
Description: “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.”
Why I’m Curious: I’ve written about my obsessions with smart, alternative alien invasion scenarios over and over again. It’s been fifteen years since Contact, the last great movie about trying to talk to aliens instead of immediately going to war with them, and three years since District 9. We are long overdue.
Script: Shut In
Author: Christina Hodson
Description: “A woman who tries to raise her catatonic son on her own suddenly discovers a shocking secret about him.”
Why I’m Curious: Since Adam Lanza shot his mother, Nancy, before heading off to massacre students and administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary, there’s been renewed attention to mothers raising difficult children by themselves face, and what kind of support we could give them. I’m curious to see a strong psychological portrait that examines those kinds of challenges.
Script: Man Of Tomorrow
Author: Jeremy Slater
Description: “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.”
Why I’m Curious: Urban planning, alternate history, and killing Hitler? I’m so game.