The annual unveiling of the hottest yet-to-be-filmed screenplays in Hollywood arrived Monday, so let's take a look at some of the so-called Black List's most promising fare — well, if not promising, at least interesting in some way.
The top screenplay — determined by the number of production execs who mentioned the screenplay during the Black List polling — comes from Pulitzer-nominated Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo playwright Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman. It's called Draft Day and is about the general manager of the Buffalo Bills, who "has the opportunity to save football in Buffalo when he trades for the No. 1 pick. He must quickly decide what he’s willing to sacrifice in the pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred." So it's Moneyball about football, basically? That could be interesting, as long as it's more Any Given Sunday than Necessary Roughness. And, depending on the character's age, it could be a vehicle for Tom Cruise to get back to drama after doing all these action/sci-fi movies in his career 2.0.
A Dr. Seuss biopic called Seuss details the author's life, from meeting his supportive wife Helen as a younger man to writing The Cat in the Hat with some help from Helen when he's in his 50s. Casting would be tricky for this, as it spans decades, but probably some Brit could pull it off well. Can Benedict Cumberbatch do an American accent? The Helen role is pretty big, too, and potentially quite a dramatic one — she committed suicide following illness and her husband's infidelity. She was also a couple years older than her husband, so let's have her played by Rachel Weisz. Oscars for everyone in 2015.
The slightly more exciting biopic on the list is Rodham, which is about, you guessed it, Ms. Hillary. Specifically: "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." Doesn't that sound great??? Such an interesting time in her life to focus on, and it means we get to meet young, sax-playin' Bubba. It's also an exciting project because the roles are so tricky to cast.. Jessica Chastain wouldn't work. Neither would Michelle Williams. You know who I'm thinking, though it would probably never actually happen? Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Put her in the right wardrobe, and I think it could play. And then for Bill... Jeez, that is really hard. (That's what she said. Many shes.) And, hmm, what if — and humor me for a second — Chris Pratt lost a little weight? Could that maybe work, or is he too goofy? If not him, maybe Benjamin Walker? He could use some redemption after Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Elsewhere on the list, there's Wunderkind, about a Mossad dad and a CIA son teaming up to hunt a Nazi. We all know that Nazi-hunting is always fun. There's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, about "a promising young law student fights an oppressive legal system and growing public scrutiny when his routine traffic stop snowballs into shocking criminal charges, imprisonment, daring escapes and ultimately acting as his own attorney in a nationally televised murder trial." So that could be a good project for Andrew Garfield or someone. And then there's Fuck Marry Kill, which will certainly be retitled, written by former Page Six writer Neel Shah and former Gawker contributor ("Blue States Lose") Alex Blagg. Yeah, how's that for a blast from the sorta recent new media past? No idea what that one is about, but hopefully it's a sexually graphic horror story set at a wedding.
The full Black List is here.