“Frat Boy Genius” is a fictional story centering on a Snapchat employee, who chronicles the rise of her former Stanford classmate — “preeminent douchebag” and current boss Evan Spiegel.
The list, now in its 13th year, was unveiled on Monday and compiled by Franklin Leonard’s Black List organization. The list of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood is based on suggestions of more than 300 film executives, each of whom contributed the names of up to 10 favorite scripts that were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with, 2018, and will not have begun principal photography during this calendar year. Scripts had to receive at least seven mentions to be included on the Black List.
Karasik is a Mexican-Jewish writer and native Angeleno with a BA in English from Stanford University. She has worked on Fox dramas as the showrunner’s assistant to Hart Hanson on “Backstrom” and Jonathan Collier on “Bones.”
Nearly a third of this year’s Black List scripts were written by women and more than 40% were female-driven. More than half of the scripts are “represented by” women.
Zach Baylin’s “King Richard,” based on the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, was second with 35 votes. That project is set up at Star Thrower Entertainment.
Christy Hall’s thriller “Get Home Safe” was third on the list with 34 votes. The story centers on a young woman who must get home by herself on Halloween with a dead cell phone. Hall is also producing with Grey Matters and Eric Heisserer.
Cody Brotter’s “Drudge” tied for fourth with 30 votes. It follows political commentator Matt Drudge, who broke the news of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and nearly took down a presidency, all from a desktop computer in his one-bedroom Hollywood apartment. Ben Sinclair is set as the producer.
Other notable scripts include Jon Dorsey’s “The Kings of Cool,” based on a true story, in which a nerdy teen tries to win a student election at an all-black high school against a teenage Samuel L. Jackson; Mike Schneider’s “Mamba,” a chronicle of the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case in the early 2000s; Lena Waithe’s “Queen & Slim,” 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; and Krystin Ver Linden’s “Ride,” about astronaut Sally Ride.
Revenge thriller “Ruin” led the 2017 Black List. That project is set up at Marc Butan’s MadRiver Pictures. In 2016, Liz Hannah’s “The Post” was runner-up on the list. The script led to the movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, and starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. Other notable recent Black List scripts include “I, Tonya,” “All the Money in the World,” “Chappaquiddick,” “Adrift,” and “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
Here is the full 2018 Black List:
“Frat Boy Genius” by Elissa Karasik (36 Votes)
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 (35 votes)
The true story of Richard Williams, the hard-nosed and uncompromising father of tennis prodigies turned superstars, Venus and Serena Williams
“Get Home Safe” by Christy Hall (34 votes)
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.
“Drudge” by Cody Brotter (30 votes)
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.
“Harry’s All Night Hamburgers” by Steve Desmond, Michael Anthony Sherman (30 votes)
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.
“Promising Young Woman” by Emerald Fennell (30 votes)
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 (29 votes)
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.
“The Worst Guy of All Time (And the Girl Who Came to Kill Him)” by Michael Waldron (26 votes)
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.
“Analytica” by Scott Conroy (21 votes)
The true story of Chris Wylie and Cambridge Analytica.
“The Broodmare” by Michael Voyer (20 votes)
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.
“Covers” by Flora Greeson (20 votes)
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.
“The Biscuit” by Jack Waz (19 votes)
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 (19 votes)
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.
“The Seventh” by Reiss Clauson-Wolf, Julian Silver (18 votes)
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 Convery (17 votes)
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 (15 votes)
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.
“In Retrospect” by Brett Treacy, Dan Woodward (14 votes)
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.
“Rub & Tug” by Gary Spinelli (14 votes)
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.
“Our Condolences” by Greg Kalleres (13 votes)
A couple navigates their relationship after another couple, with whom they’re close, tragically loses their child.
“Queens of the Stoned Age” by Elyse Hollander (13 votes)
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.
“Meet Cute” by Noga Pnueli (12 votes)
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.
“Tillman” by Sean Thomas (12 votes)
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.
“To the Extreme” by Chris Goodwin, Phillip Van (12 votes)
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.
“Dead Dads Club” by Amanda Idoko (11 votes)
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.
“The Fastest Game” by Katie Werner, Zach Werner (11 votes)
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 America v. Bill Gates” by Justin Kremer (11 votes)
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.
“Black Flies” by Ryan King (10 votes)
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.
“Bolsa Negra” by Dave Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel (10 votes)
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.
“Happy Anniversary” by Holly Brix (10 votes)
A couple’s wedding anniversary is interrupted by a home invasion.
“Happy Little Trees” by Shawn Dwyer (10 votes)
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.
“Just Girl” by Bill Kennedy (10 votes)
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 (10 votes)
At the height of World War II, a headstrong African-American tank commander and his crew plow through war- torn Europe, determined to prove themselves as equals and bring Hitler to his knees.
“73 Seconds” by Shawn Dwyer (10 votes)
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.
“The Beast” by Aaron Sala (9 votes)
After a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean, a woman finds herself marooned on an island with a bloodthirsty beast.
“Blur” by Jacob Colman (9 votes)
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.
“Conviction” by Chris Kekaniokalani Bright (9 votes)
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.
“Dark” by Nelson Greaves (9 votes)
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.
“Kill the Leopard” by Mattson Tomlin (9 votes)
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 (9 votes)
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 (9 votes)
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 (9 votes)
Two friends try to get their third friend pregnant so they can stop hanging out with her.
“Queen & Slim” by Lena Waithe (9 votes)
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 themsevles in and go on the run.
“Saddam & Me” by Larry Cohen (9 votes)
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 (8 votes)
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.
“The Defender” by Nicholas Mariani (8 votes)
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.
“Escher” by Jason Kessler (8 votes)
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 (8 votes)
A smart, lonely teen is commissioned by the high school running-back to write love letters to the object of his, and her, affection.
“Hare” by Jason Rostovsky (8 votes)
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 (8 votes)
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.
“Naked Is the Best Disguise” by Graham Moore (8 votes)
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.
“Popular” by Hannah Hafey, Kaitlin Smith (8 votes)
A story of power, betrayal, scandal, and deceit – you know, high school.
“Queen” by Harry Tarre (8 votes)
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 (8 votes)
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.
“29th Accident” by Alanna Brown (8 votes)
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.
“Untitled Coast Guard” by Alex Sohn (8 votes)
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.
“Welcome to the Neighborhood” by Ross Lazar, Sebastian Shepard (8 votes)
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 (8 votes)
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.
“Your Boy” by Matt Whitaker (8 votes)
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.
“AMA (Ask Me Anything)” by John Wikstrom (7 votes)
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 (7 votes)
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.
“Gunfight” by Jake Disch (7 votes)
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.
“Inhuman Nature” by Matt Fisch (7 votes)
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 (7 votes)
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.
“Isleworth” by Charlie Efron (7 votes)
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.
“Little Fish” by Mattson Tomlin (7 votes)
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.
“Me & Tammy Faye at the Betty Ford Clinic” by Pamela Garcia Rooney (7 votes)
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 (7 votes)
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.
“One Night in Mississippi” by Michele Atkins (7 votes)
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.
“Ride” by Krystin Ver Linden (7 votes)
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.
“Sharon” by Ryan Jaffe (7 votes)
Sharon Osbourne tells the story of her relationship with Ozzy before they were married.
“Spark” by Meredith Dawson (7 votes)
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.
“Untitled Syria Project” by Stephanie Carrie (7 votes)
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.
“Wendi” by Amy Wang (7 votes)
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.
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