We’re thrilled to announce that at the beginning of December we will be releasing the 2016 Hit List, comprised of top spec scripts of the year, as voted on by industry professionals. By focusing exclusively on specs, this list aims to bring recognition to the new material that enters Hollywood, with an eye towards celebrating fresh ideas, new voices, and the emerging talents that make up the largest gambling circuit in all of Hollywood — The Spec Market.
This week and next, we’ll be highlighting a few of our favorite Hit List success stories from the past six years. We’re proud to recognize the careers of these writers, whose immeasurable talent has propelled them to some of the highest rungs of the Hollywood ladder.
HERE ARE A FEW STAND-OUT HONOREES FROM THE 2010 HIT LIST
Brian Duffield made a name for himself with the comedy YOUR BRIDESMAID’S A BITCH, but has not defined his career with the genre, writing the western Jane Got A Gun which also landed on several lists, landed Natalie Portman as its star, and was released earlier this year. He also wrote the Young Adult actioner Insurgent for Lionsgate which brought in nearly $300 million at the worldwide box office. His spec The Babysitter found a home at New Line Cinema and recently wrapped production. Currently, he’s directing and writing Vivein Hasn’t Been Herself Lately and his spec Monster Problems is set up at Paramount. No stranger to the Hit List, Duffield has appeared on the list 4 times in 5 years.
After writing the spec COSTUME, writer Carter Blanchard signed on to write one of the most highly-anticipated sequels with Independence Day: Resurgence for 20th Century Fox, which came out this year. Blanchard has several other projects in development including an Untitled Ghost Story Project for DreamWorks, Steelheart for 21 Laps and Fox with Shawn Levy attached to direct, Immortals for Universal, and Elementary Heroes for Fox.
The young and promising Damien Chazelle found his way on The Hit List with his dramatic thriller THE CLAIM. Four years later, his film Whiplash, which he wrote and directed, won 3 of the 5 Oscars for which it was nominated, including Best Supporting Actor for J.K. Simmons. Then he wrote the script for the secretive 10 Cloverfield Lane, which was released earlier this year and in just a couple of weeks, his critically acclaimed musical La La Land starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling hits theaters, with major Oscar potential attached to it. He’s also First Man at Universal with Gosling once again attached to star and his spec The Claim is in development with Route One Entertainment.
David Guggenheim has made three appearances on The Hit List having first landed in 2010 with top vote getter, SAFE HOUSE which became the blockbusting action film starring Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, and Vera Farmiga from Universal and Stuber Pictures. It racked up $208 million worldwide. Now he’s receiving praise as the creator of the hit ABC series Designated Survivor starring Keifer Sutherland and his spec Black Box is set up at Universal. He’s also writing Santiago at Fox and there’s a Safe House sequel in the works.
The work of Diablo Cody has landed on many lists over the years, and her fourth feature script, YOUNG ADULT, was no exception. The film reteamed Cody with frequent collaborator Jason Reitman and starred Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt. Cody wrote last summer’s Ricki And The Flash with a star-studded cast led by Meryl Streep. She is also known for her edgy comedies Juno and Jennifer’s Body. Currently, she’s serving as executive producer on the Tig Notaro Amazon series One Mississippi and wrote the upcoming movie Tully, once again reteaming her with Reitman and Theron.
Edward Ricourt and Boaz Yakin shocked the industry when their film NOW YOU SEE ME blew away box office predictions making a whopping $333 million worldwide. The Vegas-heist film starred Jessie Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco, and was produced by Summit Entertainment. The film received a sequel, which came out earlier this year. Since the first film was release, Ricourt went on to write for the critically acclaimed Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones and Yakin directed and wrote the war film Max.
Evan Daugherty blew up in 2010, landing on several lists including The Hit List with SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN. The film was made by Universal Pictures and Roth Films with Rupert Sanders directing and starring Kristen Steward, Charlize Theron, and Chris Hemsworth. Its sequel/prequel was released earlier this year. He’s now working on another Snow White retelling, Rose Red, at Disney and previously worked on the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot.
FRENEMIES landed Marissa Jo Cerar on The Hit List, but she has recently showcased her ability to write for television as a staff writer on the ABC Family/Freeform series The Fosters for its first three seasons. She’s currently in development on Conversion, a drama that has Tim Robbins attached to direct, and she’s also adapting The Girl Who Fell from the Sky for Relativity.
Matt Cook has been keeping busy since TRIPLE NINE placed on The Hit List. Triple Nine was shot by John Hillcoat with an all-star cast including Gal Gadot, Norman Reedus, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, and Casey Affleck. His neck film is the highly anticipated Patriots Day about the Boston Marathon bombing and set for release in December. Currently, he’s writing Apostle Paul for Warner Bros. with Hugh Jackman attached to star and he’s also directing-writing Matterhorn at Thunder Road.
Max Landis made a huge splash in the industry with his script CHRONICLE, which was featured not only on The Hit List, but also The Young & Hungry List and Black List. The film was made by Columbia Pictures starring Dane Dehaan and Michael B. Jordan, and grossed $127 million worldwide. Landis has then gone on to pen American Ultra, Victor Frankenstein, and Mr. Right, all of which have premiered in the past couple of years. His series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is currently airing on BBC America and he’s writing the two upcoming films Bright and Power Rangers for Netflix and Lionsgate, respectively.
Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard co-wrote the horror film STRAIN and quickly built upon that success to earn a name for themselves in the genre. Together they made Oculus and Before I Wake, with Ouija: Origin of Evil having just been released. Flanagan took on the additional role as director on several of these projects, while Howard was a writer on Pixar’s Planes and Tinker Bell at Disney.
DARK MOON brought Olatunde Osunsamni attention on The Hit List but he has really gone on to grow a burgeoning career as a director, helming episodes for many television series including Under The Dome, Falling Skies, Sleepy Hollow, Legends of Tomorrow, and Gotham. His spec Dark Moon is set up at Universal and he’ll be directing, while his other spec Eden is at Gold Circle.
Oren Uziel has become a studio staple after making The Hit List with THE KITCHEN SINK. After writing 22 Jump Street, Uziel signed on to write the fourth installment of comedy-action franchise Men In Black, as well as Heist for Amblin, and God Particle for Bad Robot and Paramount, which is set for release in February.
Writing duo Reed Agnew and Eli Jorne made an impact with ON A STEEL HORSE I RIDE, parlaying the positive reception of the comedy into a successful television writing and producing path. After executive producing FX’s Wilfred and co-executive producing Blunt Talk for Showtime, they sold Son Of Zorn to Fox starring Jason Sudeikis and Cheryl Hines and it’s currently airing.
After Scott Burns’ script CONTAGION was helmed by Steven Soderbergh, Burns continued his successful career with the film Side Effects, followed by the currently Untitled Donald Crowhurst which is set to star Rachel Weisz and Colin Firth, and is currently penning Captain Nemo for Disney and Read My Lips for Paramount.
Shawn Christensen made The Hit List with ABDUCTION, an action film that starred Taylor Lautner, Alfred Molina, and Maria Bello for Lionsgate. He then wrote, directed, and produced Before I Disappear starring Ron Perlman and Emmy Rossum. Christensen also adapted the upcoming The Man From Nowhere from Dimension Films; the Karma Coalition for Warner Bros.; and Sidney Hall, which he wrote and directed, recently wrapped, starring Logan Lerman and Elle Fanning.
Ted Fouke, aka Wentworth Miller, surprised the industry when he revealed himself as the writer of STOKER, the thriller starring Mia Masikowska and Nicole Kidman. The show that launched him in the first place, Prison Break, was recently renewed for a limited run on Netflix. In the meantime, Miller stars as “Captain Cold” on the CW’s The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. He’s currently penning Scare Me at Relativity and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle at Universal.
After landing on The Hit List with his script I AM ROSE FATOU, Ted Melfi went on to write and direct 2014’s hit indie dramedy St. Vincent, which was nominated for Best Comedy at the Golden Globes. Coming up, Melfi has Going in Style, which he wrote the screenplay for, awaiting release at Warner Bros., as well as the highly anticipated Hidden Figures, which he directed, at Fox.
These are just a few of the remarkable success stories from the 2010 Hit List writers. Tomorrow we’ll be catching up with more of the writers from the 2011 Hit List, in anticipation of the reveal of the 2016 Hit List!