The 2021 edition of the Black List, the annual collection of Hollywood insiders’ favorite unproduced screenplays, this year features films about the lives of Kanye West, Martin Shkreli, Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, Donald Trump, Michael Bay, William Hung and many more – including a Harry Potter spinoff story.
The Black List, now in its 17th annual edition, is a list of Hollywood’s “most liked” unproduced scripts. It’s not a list of the “best” screenplays floating around town but the ones that were most “liked” or recommended by executives across film financiers and production companies.
This year, 73 screenplays from 71 writers or writing teams landed on the list, which was voted on by 375 executives and needed to receive at least seven mentions as one of the executive’s 10 favorite scripts to make the list. Some of the projects on the list already have producers or financing attached.
This year’s top script was “Cauliflower” by Daniel Jackson, about a high school wrestler who becomes a state champion after getting a mysterious ear infection that threatens his sanity. The script was mentioned 32 times. It was followed by Lily Hollander’s “See How They Run” (30 mentions) about a blind mother who moves into a remote farmhouse with her young daughter, only for the mystery of home’s previous inhabitants intrudes upon her attempts to repair their relationship. And in third was “Divorce Party” (25 mentions) by Rebecca Webb, about a woman who has a raucous party thrown for her in the house she’s about to lose in a divorce.
But the list also includes some curious entries about some big names. “The Villain” is about “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli and his rise and fall from hedge fund manager to pharmaceutical executive. A film called “Mr. Benihana” is described as the true story of Japanese tycoon Rocky Aoki. “Air Jordan” tells the story of how Nike managed to land the shoe endorsement and branding from Michael Jordan.
“The College Dropout” details the story of a young Kanye West and how he wrote his first album. “Believe Me” is described as an absurdist biopic about President Donald Trump that begins at 2011 White House Correspondent’s Dinner when then President Obama mocked Trump. “Idol” is the story of viral “American Idol” sensation William Hung. And “Michael Bay: The Explosive Biopic” is about the origin story behind the “Armageddon” director.
There’s also a film called “The Masked Singer” about Mickey Rourke’s brief appearance on the hit series “The Masked Singer,” and another film called “A Hufflepuff Love Story” that’s about an unpopular Hogwarts student frustrated that he got sorted into Hufflepuff rather than Gryffindor and tries to go back in time to fix it. One film, “48 Hours in Vegas,” already has Phil Lord and Chris Miller attached to tell the story of Dennis Rodman’s 48 hours in Las Vegas before Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Ashley Nicole Black and Gabrielle Dennis from “Black Lady Sketch Show” both announced the full list of screenplays this year via the organization’s YouTube channel. Also making appearances in the video announcements were writers and directors Florian Zeller (“The Father”), Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) and Zach Baylin (“King Richard”), and both “Promising Young Woman” and “King Richard” featured prominently on the Black List in 2018.
In its 17 years, screenplays that have appeared on the Black List have gone on to gross a combined $30 billion in worldwide box office and have produced several Best Picture winners, including “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Argo” and “Spotlight.” “Jojo Rabbit” by Taika Waititi was once featured on the 2012 list as well, and half of the Oscar winners for screenwriting over the last 12 years have also landed on the Black List in years past. 2019’s list featured a film called “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” that features Nicolas Cage as a version of himself, which also on Monday unveiled first-look images from the film.
Check out all the announcement videos from Monday morning’s reveal below. You can view the full Black List for 2021 via their website.