Soon we’ll be releasing the 2016 Hit List — this coveted list is comprised of top spec scripts of the year, as voted on by industry professionals. For many of these writers, earning a spot on a The Hit List is the culmination of years worth of hard work, dedication and — of course — writing, rewriting, and more writing. But before we announce this year’s Hit Listers, we want to take a moment to revisit some of our favorite success stories from the Hit Lists of years past.
Yesterday, we revisited the 2013 Hit List, which included Suicide Squad director David Ayer and Launch Pad mentor Ian Schorr. Today, we present the latest updates from some of the writers who made the 2014 Hit List, and tomorrow, we’ll release our final recap before this year’s list is revealed.
HERE ARE A FEW STAND-OUT HONOREES FROM THE 2014 HIT LIST
After landing on the 2014 Hit List with ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, Adam Aresty and Annie Hendy continued to turn heads in their solo projects. Arest sold Stung to XYZ Films and Rat Pack Films where it was directed by Benni Diez and stars Matt O’Leary and Jessica Cook. Meanwhile, Hendy is writing 50 Days In 50 States for Heroes and Villains Entertainment, adapting Catholic Girl’s Guide To Losing Your Virginity, and sold Dork Diaries to Lionsgate and Sunswept Entertainment with Mark Waters attached to produce.
Anthony Jaswinski landed on the list with two amazing spec scripts: MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES and IN THE DEEP, with the former selling to The Pictures Company and Voltage Pictures. It was renamed to The Shallows and was released earlier this year starring Blake Lively and receiving good reviews. Previously, he wrote the horror films Killing Time (which he also directed), Vanishing on Seventh Street, and Satanic. Coming up, he’s writing and co-executive producing the Lifetime series A Midsummer’s Nightmare, which has Dominic Monaghan attached to star. His pitch Variant is set up at Warner Bros. and he’s adapting Pennsbury for Paramount.
After MOONFALL rocketed onto the 2014 Hit List, David Weil quickly set the spec up at End Cue and Ram Bergman Productions. He followed up with working on an Untitled Arabian Nights Project for Warner Bros. and is taking out a new spec, Half Heard In Stillness, that garnered industry attention as it landed on a few lists. He’s also adapting The River of Doubt for Anonymous Content and Mika Model for Netflix.
Dwain Worrell has moved into digital territory with his spec THE WALL after selling the project to Amazon Studios. It stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson and recently wrapped on production. Next up, he’s working on the adaptation Mindcorp for Warner Bros. Pictures and Hollywood Gang Productions. Jose Padilha is attached to direct. Worrell also sold his pitch, Dante’s Inferno, to Warner Bros. Pictures with Hollywood Gang Productions and Weed Road Pictures.
Fred Seton and Peter Hoare grabbed readers’ attention with KID LEVIATHAN, beginning their run as some of the best feature comedy writers in the business. Seton sold Pierre Pierre to Escape Artists and Category 5 Entertainment, attaching Larry Charles to direct while Russell Brand is in discussions to star. Universal also picked up Seton’s Untitled Cannistraci Comedy Pitch, with Everyman Pictures producing. Meanwhile, Hoare is a writer on the CBS series Kevin Can Wait and is writing the feature Everybody Wants Head with Eli Craig directing.
F. Scott Frazier’s Autobahn landed on 2013 The Hit List shortly before his spec BERLINER went on to sell for a mid-six figures to Universal and land on the 2014 Hit List. Most recently, he worked on revisions for the sequel xXx: Return of Xander Cage and his film Collide co-starring Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones was released earlier this year. Line of Sight, another spec, is set up at Warner Bros. and he’s working on the script for Embassy starring Tobey Maguire.
Prior to penning the Hit List script MENA, Gary Spinelli wrote Stash House which was made into the 2012 film starring Dolph Lundgren and Briana Evigan from After Dark Films. Mena was retitled to American Made and recently wrapped at Universal from Quadrant Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, and Rhea Films. It stars Tom Cruise and Domhnall Gleeson, was directed by Doug Liman, and is now awaiting release. His other spec, The Highest Bid, is set up at Intrepid Pictures and he’s also working on the current draft of Hindenburg for StudioCanal.
Kristina Lauren Anderson won many fans with her spec CATHERINE THE GREAT, and enough votes to find the script on the 2014 Hit List. Catherine is currently set up at Gil Netter Productions, with Keira Knightley possibly starring. Next up, Anderson went to work on the adaptation of Life And Death In Eden for StudioCanal and Grand Electric Entertainment and Invisibility for Warner Bros. Pictures. She then wrote Holy Takedown! for Wayne/Lauren Film Company which has attached Trent Cooper to direct and Michael Rosenbaum to star and her pitch The Briefcase is set up at Paramount, to be produced by Casey Affleck and Greg Berlanti. Finally, she’s always writing the Amazon pilot Mrs. Hemingway, produced by Jude Law.
Michael Starrbury’s sci-fi spec ARES was quickly set up at Paramount with Mark Gordon producing. He first turned heads when he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his first screenplay, The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister & Pete, which was directed by George Tillman, Jr. and starred Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, and Anthony Mackie. New Line then picked him to adapt The Great Unknown while Warner Bros. and Silver Pictures hired him to rewrite the action comedy Fully Automatic. Starrbury is also working on the current draft of Ed Terrestrial, a family adventure on the Disney slate.
Randall Green splashed onto the Hit List with his teen comedy THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE, about a teen who launches a “swimsuit issue” at his school as a way of making quick cash. Another of his specs, Cartoon Girl, about a boy who finds out a cartoon character he loves is based on a real girl, is in development and pitch Reunion is set up as Universal and Bluegrass Films.
Writing duo Richard Tanne & Travis Baker rocketed onto the Hit List with their spec RUN & GUN. After collaborating on Lionsgate’s Halloween horror Mischief Night, starring Brooke Anne Smith and Malcolm McDowell, the two have mix and matched combined and solo projects. They teamed to write The Roman, a Julius Caesar origin story, for Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson at Closest to the Hole Productions, who also picked up their mystery spec Midnight. Tanne & Baker were also tapped for a rewrite assignment on Dominion, a supernatural thriller in development at Paramount starring Zoe Saldana. Tanne recently wrapped on Southside With You, which he wrote and directed, a romantic drama about Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date.
Sascha Penn transitioned into writing in big way, having no less than seven projects currently in development. Her 2014 Hit List script APRIL 29, 1992 is in development at Lionsgate with Will Packer producing and Donovan Marsh to direct and her other spec Bounty is at Paramount with Will Smith starring. Her third and final spec, The Ditch, landed at Warner Bros. while her pitch Yakuza vs. Mafia is in development at Good Universe and Oasis Media Group. Most recently, she worked on Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Magnificent Seven.
Tyler Burton Smith landed on the 2014 list with his spec SPOOKED, which is in development at Lin Pictures. Earlier this year, Smith was tabbed to pen the adaptation of the cult video game Five Nights At Freddy’s. The story follows four animatronics that haunt the night security guard at a pizza joint. The project is in development at Warner Bros. with Vertigo and KatzSmitch producing. Gil Kenan (Poltergeist remake) is attached to direct.
These are only some of the incredible writers that we’ve had the honor of featuring on the 2014 Hit List. Check back tomorrow for a recap of 2015’s writers!
Missed the previous recaps? Check the links below to read up on some of the highlights from previous years!
2010’S HIT-MAKERS: A LOOK BACK AT THE HIT LIST ALUMS
2011’s HIT-MAKERS: A LOOK BACK AT THE HIT LIST ALUMS
2012’s HIT-MAKERS: A LOOK BACK AT THE HIT LIST ALUMS
2013’s HIT-MAKERS: A LOOK BACK AT THE HIT LIST ALUMS