We’re thrilled to announce that on Friday, December 4th, we will be releasing the 2015 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, we’ll be highlighting a few of our favorite Hit List success stories from the past five 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 which was quickly set up at Circle of Confusion with David Ellison producing and Eli Craig directing. Duffield has not defined his career with the genre, writing the western Jane Got A Gun which also landed on several lists and landing Natalie Portman as its star. He also wrote the Young Adult actioner Insurgent for Lionsgate which brought in nearly $300 million at the world wide box office. Duffield set up The Babysitter which Wonderland Sound and Vision’s McG is currently filming for New Line. His most recent spec, Underwater, an aquatic thriller, was picked up by Chernin Entertainment and set up at 20th Century Fox. 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. 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, Near Death for Voltage Pictures, and Kindergarten Heroes for Genre Films.
Chris Borrelli has grown an extensive resume after his script WAKE hit The Hit List. Wake was picked up by Benaroya Pictures and signed on Cameron Monaghan, Ben Kingsley, Ellen Burstyn, and Piper Perabo to the cast. He then wrote Sad Jack which is set up at Bold Films, Twittering From The Circus Of The Dead for Mandalay Pictures, and The Vatican Tapes for Lionsgate. Last year Borrelli teamed up with writer Matt Allen and set up an untitled action comedy pitch with Chris Morgan Productions and Universal Pictures. He is currently adapting the critically acclaimed DC comic 100 Bullets for New Line with Tom Hardy producing and eyeing as a starring vehicle.
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 JK Simmons. He’s currently in development with The Claim, while his musical dramedy La La Land for distributer Lionsgate, is in post-production and stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Chazelle looks to make his directorial debut with Universal’s Neil Armstrong biopic First Man which is currently in development, with Ryan Gosling rumored to star.
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, Vera Farmiga from Universal and Stuber Pictures. It racked up $208 million worldwide. Next up, Guggenheim is writing Black Box for Universal as well as Bad Boys 3 for Jerry Bruckheimer, with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence returning to star. Earlier this year his script Narco Sub which is being produced by Ridley Scott and Scott Free landed star Liam Neeson for the lead role.
Diablo Cody‘s work 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 this 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. Next up, Cody is currently writing the adaptation of book series Sweet Valley High, the TV movie Moody Bitches for Harpo Productions, and is rewriting a draft of Sony’s Untitled Barbie Project for Sony and producer Amy Pascal.
After Dutch Southern‘s HOOF HARRINGTON’S GREATEST HITS made The Hit List he partnered with Adi Shankar and penned Power/Rangers, the short film that put a gritty spin on the 90’s kids series. Southern and Shankar got along so well that Southern has been brought on to write an untitled project for Shankar starring Gina Garano, Katee Sackhoff, and Branden Smith. Earlier this month Southern along with director Magnus Martens and Circle of Confusion sold hourlong dark comedy, Caper to FX.
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. Ricourt took on a consulting producer role in the Netflix series Jessica Jones and is currently adapting the novel How To Defeat Your Clone by Kyle Kurpinski. Meanwhile, Yakin went on to write Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time for Walt Disney Pictures, wrote and directed Safe for IM Global and Liosngate, and most recently took on writing and directing duties with the family film Max for MGM and Warner Bros.
Evan Daughtry 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. He recently signed on to write the reboot of Tomb Raider, as well as Ink And Bone and Five Ghosts. He previously wrote the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot and the Young Adult flick Divergent.
Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan are kings of depicting gender competition in big screen comedies, and their Hit List script PLAY BY PLAY is no exception. They adapted the relationship guide Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus for BermanBraun, and after previously working with Overbrook Entertainment on Sisters Of Mercy they are reteaming for an adaptation of the film Hitch into a new television series.
Jeremiah Friedman and Nick Palmer won industry-love with the spec FAMILY GETAWAY, which was nabbed by Warner Bros. Pictures, opening studio doors for the pair to write family fare. They have signed on to write the remake of The Bodyguard for Lin Pictures and the Jaden Smith-starring Karate Kid 2. They are also set to pen Alpha Squad Seven for Flynn Picture Company, Dreamworks and Dwayne Johnson.
Jordan Goldberg and Alex Paraskevas made the list with their suspense thriller SPRAWL. Paraskevas has multiple projects in development, including The Asterisk and The Gun Eaters, while Goldberg went on to become an associate producer then producer for Christopher Nolan, including The Dark Knight, Inception, and Interstellar.
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. She’s currently in development on Conversion, her drama that has Tim Robbins attached to direct.
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 Ijiofor, Woody harrelson, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, and Casey Affleck. Since then he sold By Way Of Helena to Lionsgate and Mandeville and has adapted the book Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes for HBO and Basil Iwanyk.
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 went on to pen American Ultra and Victor Frankenstein which both premiered this year.
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 2 in production and Diver in development. Flanagan has taken on the additional role as director on several of these projects, while Howard was a writer on Pixar’s Planes and its sequel.
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, Extant, Sleepy Hollow, and Minority Report. He is currently penning Zero-G for Fox with Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, Eileen Goldsmith-Vein, and Richard Lebowitz producing. Meanwhile, Dark Moon is set up at Dark Castle with Joel Silver producing.
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 Dreamworks, God Particle for Bad Robot, and will take on writing and executive producing duties in the new Mortal Combat movie for New Line Cinema.
Writing duo Reed Agnew and Eli Jorne made an impact with ON A STEEL HORSE RIDE, parlaying the positive reception of the comedy into a successful television writing and producing path. After executive producing FX’s Wilfred and they co-executive produced Blunt Talk for Showtime, and recently sold Son Of Zorn to Fox starring Jason Sudeikis and Cheryl Hines. The part-animated, part-live action series recently received a series order from the network.
Rob Riggle and Thomas Lennon are well-known for their work in front of the camera, with Riggle establishing himself as a correspondent on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and Lennon best known for leading the ensemble of comedians in Comedy Central’s Reno 9-11. They found themselves on the 2010 Hit List with high-concept comedy THE BONDOOGLE. Since then, Riggle partnered with Blake McCormick to write Embassy, while Lennon has signed on to pen The Naked Gun reboot.
After Scott Burns‘s 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 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo.
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 Lin Pictures, The Creek Don’t Rise for Greenbelt Films, and is set to write and direct Sidney Hall for his Fuzzy Logic banner.
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 the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow.
After landing on The Hit List with his script I AM ROSE FATOU, Ted Melfi went on to write and direct last year’s hit indie dramedy St. Vincent, which was nominated for Best Comedy at the Golden Globes. Melfi’s script for the comedy Going in Style, directed by Zach Braff, just wrapped, while he himself is currently underway with writing and directing the adaptation of The Tender Bar with Chernin Entertainment.
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 2015 Hit List on Friday!