The Black List Unveils the Best Unproduced Screenplays of 2015 (FULL LIST)

The Black List Unveils the Best Unproduced Screenplays of 2015 (FULL LIST)

The annual poll of film executives, inaugurated in 2005, highlights the best unproduced scripts—and, over time, has become a force to be reckoned with, as more than 225 Black List selections have now been made as feature films. Earning more than $19 billion at the box office and racking up 171 Oscar nominations and 35 wins, including Best Pictures "Slumdog Millionaire," "The King’s Speech," and "Argo." 

READ MORE: "Meet 12 Participants in Fall Black List Screenwriting Mini-Labs"

To that list, 2016 may see the addition of "Spotlight," the current awards season frontrunner, or "The Revenant," and the former has a strong chance of adding to The Black List’s screenplay haul: eight of the last 16 winners, original and adapted, were once featured on the list, including "Juno," "The Social Network," "The Descendants," and "Django Unchained."

The Black List has since grown to include a screenplay recommendation engine for industry professionals, the ability for screenwriters to upload their scripts to the Black List’s database, and the inclusion of episodic material.

The 2015 Black List was compiled from the suggestions of over 250
film executives, each of whom contributed the names of up to ten of his or her
favorite scripts that were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with,
2015 and will not have begun principal photography during this calendar year. This year, scripts had to receive at least six mentions to
be included on the Black List.

Read the full list of 2015 Black List scripts, with loglines, below:

BUBBLES by Isaac Adamson

A
baby chimp is adopted by the Pop star Michael Jackson. Narrating his own story,
Bubbles the Chimp details his life within The King of Pop’s inner circle
through the scandals that later rocked Jackson’s life and eventually led to
Bubbles’ release.

STRONGER by John Pollono          

The
true story of Jeff Bauman, who after losing his legs in the 2013 Boston
Marathon bombing, was an integral part of helping police to locate the
suspects.

ROCKET* by Jeffrey Gelber, Ryan Belenzon         

Roger
“The Rocket” Clemens, one of the greatest pitchers of all time, has 4672
strikeouts, 354 wins and a record 7 Cy Young awards. This is the story of why
he is not in the Hall of Fame.

THE LIBERTINE by Ben Kopit                        

After
the Head of the French National Assembly is placed under house arrest for
accusations of sexual assault, he must live in a guarded apartment with his
estranged wife until the case comes to a close.

CRATER by John J. Griffin                        

On
the moon, five teens take an unauthorized and adventure-filled road trip, just
before one of them is to be sent away on a seventy-five year journey to another
planet, leaving behind his best friends.

MISS SLOANE by Jonathan "Jonny" Perera            

A
powerful lobbyist sacrifices her career on Capitol Hill so she can push through
an amendment enforcing stricter federal laws regulating guns.

TRUE FAN by John Whittington           

After
interfering with a foul ball during a Chicago Cubs playoff game, Steve Bartman
was tortured and stalked by die hard Cub fans for potentially costing them
their first National League pennant since 1945. Years later, in a new town with
a new identity—but depressed, overweight and working a dead end job—Steve meets
a woman who gives him a new lease on life and reason to live.

PALE BLUE DOT by Brian C Brown, Elliot DiGuisseppi            

Twelve
months after returning from a space mission, decorated astronaut Laura Pepper
is arrested for the attempted murder of a fellow astronaut.

REAGAN by Mike Rosolio                       

When
Ronald Reagan falls into dementia at the start of his second term, an ambitious
intern is tasked with convincing the commander in chief that he is an actor
playing the president in a movie.

BUMP by Ori Guendelman, Rob McClelland

After an accidental hit and run, a young lawyer’s entire life unravels over the span of one night as he attempts to dispose of a corpse that turns out to be much more than an innocent victim.            

ELI by David Chirchirillo                        

Having
moved into a "clean house" to treat his auto-immune disorder, eleven
year old Eli begins to believe that the house is haunted. Unable to leave, he
soon realizes that the house, and the doctor who runs it, are more sinister
than they appear.

SEPTILLION TO ONE by Adam Perlman, Graham Sack          

While
a former FBI agent is working in the fraud unit of the Texas State Lottery
investigating a woman who has mysteriously hit the lottery jackpot three times,
he falls in love.

WHITE BOY RICK by Logan Miller, Noah Miller                        

True
story of Richard Wershe Jr., the only successful white boy gangster/drug
kingpin in an African American dominated 1980’s Detroit ghetto.

BOOMTOWN by Matt King

A slick corporate investigator with a closely guarded secret discovers a sinister criminal conspiracy in North Dakota oil boom country.

DREAMLAND by Nicolaas Zwart            

With
his family’s farm on the precipice of foreclosure, fifteen year old Eugene
Evans is determined to capture a fugitive bank robber and collect the bounty on
her head.  Against all odds, he
beats out the FBI and the local police to capture her, only to discover that
all may not be what it seems.

THE FISHERMAN by Will Dunn           

A
fisherman sails out of Martha’s Vineyard in search of the shark that killed his
fellow sailors while they were stranded in the water for four days after their
ship was attacked by a Japanese submarine.

THE WATER MAN by Emma Needell           

A
young boy tries to save his mother from terminal cancer by seeking out the town’s
bogeyman, The Water Man, who is fabled to have conquered death.

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD by David Scarpa        

The
story of Getty kidnapping crisis encompassing the Red Brigades, the Italian
tabloids and the Vatican.

BOY by Mattson Tomlin            

A
teenage boy is born with special abilities and spends his childhood switching
names and cities so as to keep his identity hidden. When he loses control and
accidentally kills his father, he and his mother have to go on the run.

THE SHAVE by Thomas White, Miles Hubley           

A
dirty cop, exonerated in the murder of a high school honor student, visits the
boy’s father at his barbershop, and while receiving a straight razor shave,
listens to him recount the story of his son’s life.

DO NO HARM by Julia Cox         

An
ambitious surgeon’s life takes a dangerous turn when she indulges in an affair
with a doctor whose god complex challenges her own.

HAMMERSPACE by Mike Van Waes          

A
terminally-ill teenager looking for answers about his missing father finds a
key that unlocks an opening to an alternate animated dimension and a new friend
who helps him repair his broken family.

THE WRETCHED EMILY DERRINGER by Chris Thomas Devlin            

Gleefully
terrifying her small town as a serial killer known as "The Misfit
Butcher," 13-year-old Emily Derringer becomes annoyed when a new killer
comes to town and residents begin attributing his sloppy murders to the Misfit
Butcher. In a macabre coming of age story,  Emily must deal with her competition while also taking on
the other trials and tribulations of junior high school life.

PANDEMONIUM, SPLENDIDLY MANAGED by Brett Conrad            

A
local Phoenix newscaster at the pinnacle of local celebrity slowly descends
into the depths of madness as he sees his world around him start to crumble
piece by piece all while trying to become a game show host in Los Angeles.

THE VIRGINIAN by Michael Russell Gunn           

Based
on the novel by Owen Wister, a young, down-and-out George Washington, desperate
to join the British Army, accepts a dangerous mission to conquer a French fort
and save the American colonies.

CASTLE DRIVE by Matthew Scott Weiner          

Based
on real events, the story of the writing of Fatal Vision, the 1983 bestselling
true crime classic that chronicles the summer journalist Joe McGinness spent
with “Green Beret Killer” Jeffrey McDonald while he was on trial for the brutal
murder of his wife and children.

CUT AND RUN by Zoe McCarthy            

A
female urologist and a retired hooker form an unlikely friendship when they
team up to take down a notorious sex trafficker in Miami.

MAYDAY 109 by Samuel V. Franco, Evan Kilgore            

Based
on actual events, a young John F. Kennedy struggles to save the crew of his PT
Boat after it is sunk by a Japanese warship during World War II.

MORNINGSTAR by David Birke            

The
war is over. A bitter and uneasy truce has been reached with an invading alien
race, and a new cold war has begun. Fueled by suspicions of an alien spy in
their ranks, the United Nations Intelligence Division entrusts their top agent,
Martin Webber, with finding the mole.

MOVE THAT BODY by Lucia Aniello, Paul W Downs            

Five
friends rent a beach house in Miami for a bachelorette weekend and accidentally
kill a male stripper.

NYAD by Robert Specland            

Based
on the true story of marathon swimmer Diana Nyad, who in 2013, after 4 failed
attempts and at the age of 64, became the first person ever to open-swim from
Cuba to Florida (55 hours non-stop) overcoming impossible odds, personal
tragedy, and 103 miles of open ocean.

QUEEN OF THE AIR by Cat Vasko            

Based
on the book "Queen of the Air" written by Dean N. Jensen. The story
of famed trapeze artist Lillian Leitzel and her relationship with fellow
trapeze artist Alfredo Codona, who were two of the most famous entertainers of
the world during their time.

SPRING OFFENSIVE by Matthew McInerney-Lacombe            

Dr.
Liz Scott, a British epidemiologist with the World Health Organization, fights
to contain an outbreak of Ebola in Afghanistan’s war torn Helmand province as
the Taliban’s assault on allied forces threatens to turn the localized outbreak
into a global catastrophe.

THE BURNING WOMAN by Brad Ingelsby           

A
reckless, fun-loving young woman confronts the dark side of life after losing
her daughter.

BLACKFRIARS  by
Chris Bremner             

Set
around the Blackfriars massacre of 1978, the true story of a Boston police
officer and a con man-turned-witness, who become unlikely friends hiding out in
Bermuda, ultimately perpetrating a con on the Boston DA they’re tasked to
serve.

CIRCLE OF TREASON by Anna Waterhouse, Joe Shrapnel            

Based
on the book "Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and
The Men He Betrayed" written by Sandra Grimes & Jeanne Vertefeuille.
When two women in the CIA suspect there is a mole working there, they have to
overcome the institution’s hierarchy and chauvinism to bring down the traitor.

STAR ONE by David Coggeshall            

Two
CIA agents must overcome their opposing worldviews to evade the Soviet and
Chinese armies during a dangerous mission to Tibet in 1950. The true story of
the first CIA agent ever to die in the line of duty; the "first star’ on
the CIA Memorial Wall.

THE SET UP by Kari Granlund            

Two
co-dependent female best friends’s friendship is put through the wringer after
a blind date gone awry sends them on a dangerous, all-in-one-night adventure with
a drug dealer.

BARE KNUCKLE by Dave Matillo            

New
York City 1862: The bare knuckle boxing champion, Bad Jack, develops a crush on
a common French girl and uses his political influence to send her Irish
lumberman husband off to the Civil War so he can take her for his own.
Unfortunately for Bad Jack, the Irishman doesn’t die in the war and t comes
back a killer looking to exact revenge on the pugilist and his entire corrupt
entourage.

CHAPPAQUIDDICK by Taylor Allen, Andrew Logan            

A
historically factual look at what really happened when Ted Kennedy drove off
the road into a Martha’s Vineyard bay with Mary Jo Kopechne in the car.

GREAT FALLS by Andy Friedhof            

After
negligently killing a hunter with their patrol car, an alcoholic Sheriff’s
Deputy and her superior officer must decide what to do with the only witness to
their crime – a death row inmate only days from execution.

HUNTING EICHMANN by Matthew Orton            

The
thrilling capture of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann by a secret Mossad team
in South America.

A SPECK IN THE SEA by Jeff Pope            

Based
on the article "A Speck in the Sea" by Paul Tough. The true story of
the rescue of lobster fisherman John Aldridge who fell into the ocean in the
middle of the night on July 24th, forty miles off Montauk with no life vest and
no way to signal where he was.

BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS by Dan Kunka             

In
one of the greatest untold stories in American history, General and future
President Andrew Jackson reluctantly partners with world-renowned pirate Jean
Lafitte to lead a rag-tag team of soldiers against the indomitable British Army
in the climactic battle of the War of 1812.

CRIMSON TRAIL by Jeremy Shipp            

Devastated
by the cold-blooded murder of his family, a devout frontier preacher risks his
soul to lead a posse in pursuit of the Harpe Brothers—America’s first serial
killers. Based on a true story.

LABYRINTH by Christian Contreras           

Based
on the book LAbyrinth by Randall Sullivan. The story of the investigation into
the murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG.

OUR WEEK WITH WALLER by Evan Mirzai, Shea Mirzai            

After
getting laid off, two Americans cash in their vacation pay and head to Spain
where their paths collide with one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists.

SET IT UP by Katie Silberman            

Two
young assistants realize they can get more free time if they occupy their
bosses’ time by setting them up on a date.

UNTITLED SOCIOPATH PROJECT by Topher Rhys-Lawrence            

A
successful New Yorker’s seemingly perfect life starts unraveling once he’s
suspected for the murder of his co-worker, and his only alibi is the
doppelganger that’s begun stalking him.

ARES by Geneva Robertson-Dworet            

The
survival story of an astronaut whose space capsule crash lands in the African
desert and whose mission to space was part of a larger conspiracy.

FINAL JOURNEY by Michael Lee Barlin            

A
mistreated elderly Inuit woman is forced out of her village to survive alone on
the savage arctic tundra.

MILITIA  by
Henry Dunham            

After
a shooting on a police funeral by a suspected militia member, a recluse ex-cop
and fellow militia man must interrogate the suspected gunmen in his own militia
before copycat attacks start a nationwide war between cops and militias.

SALEM by Mark Bianculli, Jeff Richard            

Fifteen
years after the witch trials, the scars of Salem are reopened when young women
begin showing up dead. Desperate for answers, the town elders turn to a man of
science to uncover the truth behind its terrifying events plaguing their
community.

TOMORROW ON THE RUNWAY by Frederick Seton            

Kermit
St. Lucy has a ridiculous name and is ridiculously ill-equipped to deal with
adult responsibilities. After a tragedy shakes him to his core, Kermit takes it
upon himself to look after and raise two young children. 

TREASURE ISLAND by James Coyne           

Based
on the Robert Louis Stevenson classic, young Jim Hawkins finds a map to a
buried fortune; to claim it means a perilous voyage, pirate treachery, and the
wicked mentorship of Long John Silver.

UNTITLED LARRY HILLBLOM PROJECT  by Matt Portenoy       

The
strange-yet-true story of the battle over the estate of Larry Lee Hillblom,
billionaire founder of DHL.

A LIFE FANTASTIC by Natalie Antoci      

A
single mother with a terminal diagnosis embarks on a road trip with her
eccentric 9 year old son and nanny to find a loving and progressive family that
will accept him for whoever he may grow up to be.

AN AFRICAN WESTERN by Chloe Castellon, Ridgeway Wilson            

When
a young African woman’s village is destroyed by a “Christian” paramilitary unit
and her sister is kidnapped, she uses every weapon at her disposal on an
odyssey to save her last living relative.

ATLANTIC WALL by Zach Dean         

A
lone American paratrooper, stranded behind enemy lines hours before D-Day, is
tasked with delivering intelligence critical to the outcome of the war and
compelled to fulfill a promise to protect the young son of a murdered ally.

BED REST by Lori Evans Taylor         

An
expectant mother who is confined to bed rest starts to experience paranormal
events.

I BELIEVE IN AMERICA by Terry Clyne           

A
behind-the-scenes look at the making of THE GODFATHER, revealing that the
creative forces behind one of the finest American films ever made were all as
cunning and ruthless as the mobsters portrayed in Mario Puzo’s bestseller.

IDA TARBELL by Mark McDevitt         

Ida
Tarbell’s magazine series "The History of the Standard Oil Company,"
not only changed the history of journalism but also the fate of Rockefeller’s
empire, which was shaken by the powerful pen of its most implacable observer.

LOU by Maggie McGowan Cohn           

An
elderly woman who hacks out a rough existence on a remote island is forced to
help her dimwitted neighbor rescue her daughter whose ex has kidnapped her and
escaped into the woods.

PRECONCEPTION by Jake Morse, Scott Wolman           

A
couple on the verge of parenthood embarks on a pre-baby bucket list.

SENIOR YEAR by Andrew Knauer, Arthur Pielli           

A
cheerleader wakes up after a twenty year coma and returns to sit at the cool
table and try to become prom queen, as a thirty seven year-old woman.

VERONA by Neil Widener, Gavin James           

A
re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

105 AND RISING by Andrew Cypiot           

Amid
the chaos of a fILling nation on April 29, 1975, the objective was clear: safely
evacuate all remaining Americans from Saigon. But to Major Jim Kean and
Ambassador Graham Martin, the moment represented something else: the final
opportunity to uphold promises and obligations to the people of South Vietnam.

FREE AGENT by Sam Regnier            

A
female NBA executive for the Golden State Warriors pursues the biggest free
agent of her career while managing a messy divorce and a complicated
relationship with a younger colleague and his teenage sister.

HOMEGROWN by Jacques Edeline           

A
teenage boy, raised in total seclusion and indoctrinated by his enigmatic
father, is sent to live with a foster family and enrolled in a public high
school when his father is incarcerated, threatening their relationship and
causing the boy to question everything he’s learned.

THE BOY by Owen Egerton           

Sixteen
years after stabbing a classmate to appease a legendary phantom known as the
Boy, a repentant woman returns to her hometown to live with her sister and
nephew, but as the Boy continues to haunt her she must face her deepest terror
and discover the truth about the Boy before he claims her nephew.

CARNIVAL by Matias Caruso          

A
deadly carnival knife-thrower hunts down the members of a powerful crime
syndicate who murdered his sister.

CROOK COUNTY by Gita Pullapilly, Aron Gaudet           

A
whistleblower’s harrowing journey into an undercover FBI operation in 1980’s
Cook County, Illinois, sending him toe-to-toe with corrupt judges, hustling
defense attorneys, and Chicago mobsters; and ultimately resulting in the
largest number of convictions of government officials in the history of the
United States.

DAMSEL by Bryan McMullin           

After
first being locked  in a tower and
then hidden deep in the forest to prevent a prince from rescuing her,
long-haired Rapunzel vows to get revenge.

FRANCIS AND THE GODFATHER by Andrew Farotte           

Facing
financial ruin, auteur filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola is forced to direct the
adaptation of Mario Puzo’s pulp novel The Godfather, pitting him against
legendary mega-producer Robert Evans.

GREEN RIVER KILLER by Michael Sheen           

Based
on the Eisner Award winning graphic novel of the same name. Detectives in the
Green River Killer case attempt to unravel both the facts behind the gruesome
murders that plagued the Pacific North West for over a decade and the psychosis
of the killer they find themselves face to face with.

LANDSLIDE by Will Staples, Tony Camerino            

Based
on the book How to Break a Terrorist by Tony Camerino. The story of America’s
search for terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and the man who played a key role in
tracking him down by using psychological warfare.

RESURFACE by Pete Bridges            

An
underwater earthquake decimates a research crew working at the bottom of the
Mariana Trench, leaving two survivors with limited resources to ascend 35,000
feet and reach the surface before their life support runs out.

SONGS OF TREBLINKA by Viorica Blan            

Based
on a true story. A renowned Jewish conductor plots a revolt with fellow
prisoners as he attracts the respect of his Nazi captors in Poland’s most
notorious death camp.

THE CANYON by Alex Koplow            

When
parents reunite with their grown children for a road trip to hike the Grand
Canyon, the family conflicts on the way prove far more grueling than the twenty
mile hike.

THREE MONTHS by Jared
Frieder          

After
being exposed to HIV the weekend of his high school graduation in 2011, a punk
gay teenager from Miami attempts to start a new relationship with a someone
from his support group as they try to endure the three months it takes to get
accurately tested.    

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Comments

delay

If this sort of stuff is deemed too good to produce– is there one original idea here? — we’re in worse trouble than anyone thought…. Between "development executives" and Sundance social worker multicultural types, what a thoroughly depraved business.

Jack B.

If "The Social Network" and "Django Unchained" were on this list, every script fresh off the printer is an "unproduced screenplay." One was commissioned for one of the top writers in Hollywood, and the other was an original from a can’t-miss director.

Keyvon Pierre

Can’t believe "Final Exam" by Keyvon Pierre didn’t make the list. A neo-noir that would rival Shane Black

blahhumbug

Jim, certainly this has happened, but there are such things as trends. Guess what? I’m a development exec who has had concepts that I’ve then seen being made later, not because someone stole them, but because there are in fact trends of thought, especially in the microcosm of Hollywood. Ex: The Godfather BTS scripts.

Jim_A

I would advise those reading these loglines to be aware that most of these supposedly ‘blacklisted’ scripts, are in fact penned by Development Executives, who most likely stole these ideas from actual Writers. Maybe not all … but MOST. I spotted one that is clearly based on a pitch and treatment that I wrote, back in 2006. (Not the first instance, either; I see one of my projects ‘readjusted’ on this list, about once a year) And I suspect many other Writers will spot unlikely coincidental similarities to some of their own work, within this list of ‘blacklisted’ scripts. And not mere story ideas, mind you, but intellectual property material, previously pitched to Development Executives, and now regurgitated by Development Executives, moonlighting as Writers, and passed off as their own original work. It happens. And it’s precisely why many of us now refuse to further participate in the ‘pitch/meeting’ process. If you hear the words, ‘There won’t be any money involved on this, but do it for the exposure,’ walk the F away, dude. One way or another, you always get ripped off by that cottage industry of con-artists, masquerading as legitimate producers, agents, etc. And ALL of those people eventually end up as Readers and Development Executives, if they’re not already.

Their Modus Operandi is to gather intelligence for the purpose of generating a file, or backlog of well-thought out material. And when they think enough time has passed, or the person who wrote the original work has fallen away from the Industry, they dust off said ideas and do their best to prove that ‘they’ can write your story better than you can. Again, not all, of these people have done that, mind you, but most probably have. Keep that in mind. Because although Production Companies and/or Studios do not want to get wrapped up in a lawsuit over something like theft of intellectual property, it continues to occur all the time. Such legal red-tape can cause all kinds of havoc, at even the largest of companies. And adding to the problem, Development Executives love to brag about stealing ideas. ‘Ideas are in the air,’ they say. Right. Sure they are, Spanky. But fortunately, as a result of their nasty little subterfuge, scripts that magically ‘appear’ from the air, are often blacklisted by Production Companies and Studios, to protect themselves from such legal proceedings. Not all. But most. Remember that.

The More You Know.

EGP

Representation of women at 19 percent? No thanks. There is something wrong with the voting by a closed population and the "pay for more prof reviews" part of this process that taints it. Guys, guys and more guys.

Fredo

Wasn’t there two scripts about the making of JAWS last year, too?

Fredo

I can’t believe there are TWO making-of scripts about The Godfather.

LHP

Cannot WAIT to see Spring Offensive. One of the best scripts I’ve read in a very long time.

Chris

Wait Boomtown is written by Super Hans!?

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