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Black List 2020: Cannibals, Soviet Subs and Asian Basketball Phenoms Top Best Unproduced Scripts

80 screenplays landed on the 16th annual edition of the list

Scripts about a cannibal who devours people with the most Instagram followers, a Cold War submarine thriller and a coming-of-age story about an Asian basketball player have topped the list of the annual Black List for 2020.

The 16th edition of the Black List featured 80 different scripts from 80 different screenwriters, with each screenplay getting at least seven mentions from a poll of 375 film industry executives, up from last year when just 66 made the list. The list is not a “best of” but a list of the most “liked” scripts by executives, and some already have financing.

Topping the Black List with 29 mentions is “Headhunter” by Sophie Dawson, which is described as a movie about a cannibal, who hunts Instagram influencers and determines who to eat based on how many followers they have, only to have his habits shaken when he meets someone who actually wants to be eaten.

The next two highest-ranking scripts were “Chang Can Dunk” by Jingyi Shao and “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” by Dave Collard, which had 28 and 26 mentions respectively. “Chang Can Dunk” is about an Asian American teen and basketball fanatic in a coming-of-age story; “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” is an adaptation of David Sharp’s book from 2016, “The CIA’s Greatest Covert Operation” about an operation to recover a Soviet submarine.

Among some of the highlights, Black List revealed that three of the scripts focus on a trans character as the lead. In an announcement video on Monday, founder Franklin Leonard said that a lot of the films are about characters with “nontraditional relationships with space and time” and that can be shot in controlled environments as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Emancipation,” the true story about a runaway slave in the Civil War era, which stars Will Smith and is in the works at Apple TV+ from director Antoine Fuqua, also landed on the list.

In its 16 years, screenplays that have appeared on the Black List have gone on to gross a combined $30 billion in worldwide box office and several Best Picture winners, including “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Argo” and “Spotlight.” Last year’s “Jojo Rabbit” by Taika Waititi was once featured on the 2012 list as well. Last year’s list featured a film called “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” that features Nicolas Cage as a version of himself is currently in the works at Lionsgate.

Check out the full list here.