2012’s Hit-Makers: A Look Back At The Hit List Alums



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. As we get closer to Friday’s release, we’re looking back at the Hit Lists of year’s past to highlight some of the amazing writers and their groundbreaking scripts who went on to become some of the most admired and sought after screenwriters working today.

Yesterday, we took a look back at the 2011 Hit List, which included last year’s Oscar winner Graham Moore and the Duplass brothers. Today, we proudly present the latest updates from some of the writers who made the 2012 Hit List. And don’t forget to check back on Friday for the release of the 2015 Hit List!


Brad Ingelsby landed on the list with his spec ALL-NIGHTER, which became Run All Night, Warner Bros.’ action-thriller starring Liam Neeson produced by Roy Lee and Brooklyn Weaver. Ingelsby’s Out of the Furnace was produced by Relativity Media, Appian Way, and Scott Free, and starred Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, and Forest Whitaker. Ingelsby sold his pitch for The Signal to Paramount and Indian Paintbrush, and Merry Men to DreamWorks. His specs The Burning WomanA Better Place, and Claire have all sold to Scott Free, with Burning Woman currently in with Fox and Claire being financed by Erika Olde. Ingelsby is also working on a draft of Narco Sub for Fox and Scott Free.

Brian Kehoe and Jim Kehoe found their way on The Hit List with their comedy CHERRIES, now in as The Pact with Good Universe and Point Grey, before selling their pitch Top of the Food chain to Lionsgate. Their spec You Complete Us is in with Endgame and Offspring Entertainment, while they’re currently working on a draft of Wheelman for Disney and Panay .

Before and created their AMC series Halt and Catch Fire, they landed on The Hit List with their action-thriller OFF THE GRID. They’re currently working on a draft of the tightly under wraps sci-fi thriller Zanbato for Paramount and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, as well as a draft of Chris Hemsworth-vehicle Shadow Runner for Columbia. They’re spec The Knoll, about the JFK assassination, is being produced by Management 360.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy was no stranger to praise when his first original screenplay THE COUNSELOR landed on The Hit List. His previous novels Child of God, The Road, No Country for Old Men and All The Pretty Horses have all been adapted into award winning films. The Counselor was produced by Fox, starring Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz and Brad Pitt, and directed by Ridley Scott. McCarthy’s The Crossing is currently being adapted by Columbia and Sony.

Craig Zahler‘s chilling western BONE TOMAHAWK caught Hollywood’s attention in 2012, and was released this year starring Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson and Matthew Fox. His spec script The Big Stone Grid sold to Columbia, and Michael Mann is currently attached to direct, while his adaptation of Mean Business on North Ganson Street is in the works at Leonard Di Caprio’s Appian Way and Warner Bros. Di Caprio has also been circling Zahler’s The Brigands of Rattleborge, which currently has Park Chan-wook set to direct.

and saw their Hit List spec OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN made into a hit film starring Gerard Butler. From there they were brought in to pen The Expendables 3 for Sylvester Stallone and Millennium , which pulled in over $200 million worldwide. Lately, they’ve been developing the action-thriller Twice with Luc Besson and his EuropaCorp, and The Sentence for Applebox and EuropaCorp. The duo is currently working on a remake of the Japanese action-thriller Shield of Straw for All Nippon Entertainment and Depth of Field.

made the Hit List with his adaptation of Ted Chiang’s novella STORY OF YOUR LIFE, which had a record-breaking pre-sale at Cannes to Paramount after a massive bidding war. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner will star, with Denis Villeneuve directing. Heisserer has since directed his own project, Hours, and is working on the Universal reboot of Van Helsing. Among his other many in are Exposure for Columbia and an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None for Fox. 

’s Hit List spec WHITE HOUSE DOWN became a box office smash, starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, and directed by Roland Emmerich. That led him to jobs writing The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This year, he wrote and directed the political drama Truth starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford. Among his many in developing are the David Peace novel adaptation Red Riding with Columbia and Scott Free, Independence, Mississippi with Warner Bros., and Independence Day: Resurgence for Fox.

Jason Micallef sold his Hit List spec GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR TOM to Disney and Underground Entertainment, with Seth Gordon attached to direct. His dark reimagining of the Willy Wonka story Wonka made the Blacklist in 2014, and he sold his pitch Shadows to Fox, with Carlos Saldanha attached to direct. Micallef worked on the much-buzzed about feature adaptation of King of Kong for New Line, while his comedy script Undercover Cop is in the works at Dreamworks with Jason Segel attached in the lead. Currently, Micallef is working on the upcoming Play-Doh movie for Fox and Hasbro, with Peter Chernin producing and Paul Feig directing.

Jeremy Slater made The Hit List with his alternate history crime thriller MAN OF TOMORROW, currently in with Thunder Road Pictures. His horror script that he co-wrote with Luke Dawson, The Lazarus Effect, was produced by Blumhouse and Lionsgate this year. He worked on the script for this year’s The Fantastic 4 reboot, and he’s currently working on Death Note for Warner Bros., Vertigo Entertainment and Lin Pictures. Among his other in are Fables for Warner Bros., Denver Airport for Dreamworks, and Artemis for Fox.

Jonathan Stokes found himself on The Hit List with his action-thriller BORDER COUNTRY. Recently, he wrote a series of young adult books, The Thrifty Time Traveler’s Guide, which sold to New Line after a massive bidding war. He previously worked on the adaptation of Harlan Coben’s novel Six Years for Paramount, the King David period biopic David for Fox, Scott Free and Chernin, and Blood Mountain for Derby Street , Lawrence Bender Productions, Movie Package Company, The Cutting Edge Group, and Silver Reel Partners.

After landing on The Hit List, Julia Hart‘s powerful post-apocalyptic drama THE KEEPING ROOM was produced by Wind Dancer , Gilbert and Anonymous Content. Directed by Daniel Barber, the film starred Brit Marling and Hailee Steinfeld. Hart is currently in  with the HBO mini-series Madame X, with Anna Paquin set to produce and star, and Lynn Shelton directing. She recently set up Beautiful Disaster at Warner Bros. and De Line Pictures, which she adapted from the Jamie McGuire novel.

Justin Rhodes‘ thriller THE JOIN sold to Legendary Entertainment after making The Hit List, and Rhodes continued to make waves after that. His script Grassroots was directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal and starred Jason Biggs and Lauren Ambrose. He worked on the previous draft of In Enemy Waters for Lionsgate and Temple Hill, while his original sci-fi spec Second Sun is set up at Warner Bros. Keanu Reeves is attached to star in his drama Unmanned, while he’s currently working on a draft of the adaptation of the popular game Mass Effect for Electronic Arts and Legendary.

’s Christmas comedy 12/24 jingled all the way to The Hit List in 2012, and led the writer to plenty of work ever since. He’s currently tackling Giant Monsters Attack ! for Paramount and Nickelodeon, with South Park’s Trey Parker set to direct, and the remakes of Scooby-Doo and The Jetsons for Warner Bros. 12/24 has now been picked up by 1492 Pictures, while another original spec, Personal Security, set up at Fox with Hugh Jackman producing.  

’s remarkable period action thriller WUNDERKIND made a splash on The Hit List before being set up at Paramount with Bad Robot producing. He was a staff writer on the Fox mystery series Wayward Pines, and he’s currently writing a script centered on drug trafficking for Fox and Chernin Entertainment.

and ’s sci-fi script EPSILON turned heads in 2012, and has since been set up at Columbia. The pair are currently working on the sci-fi adventure tale Little Green Men and G.I. Joe Retaliation for Paramount and Di Bonaventura and both Earth Vs. Moon and Cowboy Ninja Viking for Universal and Bluegrass . They scored big when they were tapped to write the adaptation of Rob Liefeld’s classic comic book series Deadpool for Fox starring Ryan Reynolds, which is one of next year’s most highly anticipated releases.

Rajv Joseph and Scott Rothman made their way on The Hit List with the sports drama DRAFT DAY, which was subsequently picked up, produced and directed by Ivan Reitman and his Montecito Picture Company. They served as staff writers for Showtime’s hit series Nurse Jackie, and are currently penning the remake of Kokowaah for Warner Bros, with Bradley Cooper attached to produce, direct and star.

Taylor Sheridan’s COMANCHERIA made a serious impact when it landed on The Hit List, subsequently picked up and produced by Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and 44, with Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges starring. His script Sicario–which starred Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro and was directed by Denis Villenevue–is currently getting plenty of Oscar buzz, topping several critics year end polls. Lionsgate has already commissioned a sequel from Sheridan, with Del Toro in talks to return.

Those are but a few of the incredible writers who made the 2012 Hit List, and only a sampling of some of the fantastic they’ve been involved with over the past few years. Tomorrow, we’ll be highlighting writers and their scripts from the 2013 Hit List, all in anticipation of the release of the 2015 Hit List on Friday.


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