We’re thrilled to announce that soon we will 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 2014 Hit List, which included The Shallows’ Anthony Jaswinski and Richard Tanne who recently wrote Southside with You. Today, we present the latest updates from some of the writers who made the 2015 Hit List, and in early December, we’ll be releasing the 2016 Hit List!
HERE ARE A FEW STAND-OUT HONOREES FROM THE 2015 HIT LIST
Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan turned heads with their spec CHAPPAQUIDDICK, which recently wrapped production. It stars Ed Helms, Jason Clarke, Bruce Dern, and Kate Mara. Outside of this, Logan is Head of Production at Austin-based production company Arts+Labor and Allen works as an editor for the television series The Simpsons.
Following their 2014 Black List placement for the spec Uncle Shelby, Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi came out swinging in 2015, seeing their follow up spec, PALE BLUE DOT, sell in a multi-studio bidding war to Fox Searchlight with Reese Witherspoon attached to produce and star. They were also featured on the 2015 Young & Hungry List. Individually, they’ve worked in television for shows such as About a Boy and Teen Wolf.
After his film Cheap Thrills premiered at SXSW in 2013 where it won the Audience Award and Best First Feature, and was then released in 2014 by Drafthouse to rave reviews, David Chirchirillo horror spec ELI landed on the Hit List. It’s currently in development with Bellevue Productions attached. Chirchirillo is about to make his directorial debut with Good Match, which he also wrote and recently wrapped production on.
David Coggeshall’s spec STAR ONE is described as Argo in tone and currently in development with Mythology Entertainment. His pitch Bloody Mary was sold to Touchstone and then he wrote the screenplay to Lionsgate’s 2013 film The Haunting in Connecticut 2 starring Abigail Spencer, Katee Sackhoff, and Cicely Tyson. Most recently he has been a writer for MTV’s hit Scream and his spec Prey recently wrapped production with Blumhouse. He is also penning the script for director Joe Johnston’s Starfall.
Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien quickly became sought-after comedy writers after writing 2014’s hit, Neighbors, followed by this year’s sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. THE HOUSE just wrapped production with Andrew directing for New Line and Good Universe, with Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, and Alison Tolman starring. They also wrote this year’s hit comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and coming up they have The Best Thing About Pam Rooney, based on a pitch, starring Jonah Hill.
Actor turned writer Dan Futterman landed on last year’s list with his spec A SHOT IN THE EYE, currently in development at 20th Century Fox. Previously, wrote the screenplay for the film Capote, for which he received an Academy Award nomination, and Independent Spirit, Boston Society of Film Critics, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association awards. He received a second Academy Award nomination for co-writing the script to Foxcatcher in 2014. Futterman is also known for several acting roles, including Val Goldman in the film The Birdcage. Coming up, he’s writing the pilot for Hulu’s The Looming Tower.
John Griffin made a big splash on last year’s list with his sci-fi spec CRATER, about a boy who grows up on a lunar mining colony and goes to investigate a legendary crater with his four best friends. Previously, he won the Nicholl Fellowship with his spec Dream Before Waking, and then followed that up by selling his pitch, Romeo and Juliet: The War, to Lionsgate for 1821 to produce with Stan Lee.
Bradley Cooper is set to star in Michael Gunn’s THE VIRGINIAN, based on the life of George Washington and currently in development at New Line Cinema. He also has another spec set up Participant Media and Tribeca Films, PRICE OF LIBERTY, with Robert de Niro producing. Most recently he’s been a writer and producer on ABC’s Designated Survivor.
COLLATERAL BEAUTY from Allan Loeb proved wondrous on last year’s list — so wondrous that it was picked up by Anonymous Content and Warner Bros. and is set to come out this Christmas featuring an all-star cast of Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, and Helen Mirren. Previously he wrote feature hits such as The Switch, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, and Rock of Ages. He has another film currently awaiting release as well: the romantic sci-fi drama The Space Between Us, plus several other projects currently in development, including his spec Protection.
Anthony McCarten’s DARKEST HOUR, about Winston Churchill in World War II, is being directed by critically acclaimed visionary Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman, John Hurt, and Lily James. Previously, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his script for The Theory of Everything and is currently writing a Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, for Fox and starring Rami Malek.
Logan and Noah Miller are the writers, directors, and producers of Touching Home and Sweetwater, the latter of which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and starred Ed Harris, January Jones, and Jason Isaacs. Their memoir Either You’re In or You’re In the Way was a San Francisco Chronicle #1 Bestseller. Yann Demange is attached to direct WHITE BOY RICK for Studio 8, LBI, and Protozoa Pictures with John Lesher, Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin, Rick Yorn, and Julie Yorn producing. Matthew McConaughey was recently cast in the film.
James Ponsoldt is the filmmaker behind such acclaimed features as The Spectacular Now and The End of the Tour. He most recently adapted Dave Eggers’ novel THE CIRCLE, which he just finished filming with stars Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. Ponsoldt also serves as a director and executive producer on the critically acclaimed Netflix series Master of None. Coming up, he’s adapting the musical Pippin for Weinstein and directing and writing the feature Wild City for Disney. He’s also staying involved with television, directing three upcoming pilots: Black Gold for Starz, Red Moon for Fox, and The Legend of Master Legend for Amazon.
Mike Rosolio got his start writing on NBC’s Sean Saves the World. His spec REAGAN marks his first feature. However, he’s still staying involved with the world of television and has an untitled vigilante series set up at Fox. Rosolio is also an alumnus of the Second City Conservatory in Chicago as well as a writer/performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade.
An Emmy-nominated reality producer, Lori Evans Taylor made the leap to screenwriting after her pilot Grand Avenue garnered industry attention. Her spec BED REST sold in a preemptive deal to MGM last summer for producers Karen Rosenfelt and Chris Sparling, earning her a spot on the 2015 Blood List and the 2015 Young & Hungry List. She is also writing an untitled thriller for Columbia.
Mattson Tomlin burst onto the scene when his script I Am Not Okay was named a 2014 Nicholl Fellowship Semi-Finalist. His spec BOY is currently set up at Automatik Entertainment and Motion Picture Capital with Noomi Rapace attached to star and Jonas Alexander Arnby directing Previously, he landed his first writing assignment, Survivor, for Automatik and 42, based on an idea by Arash Amel with Dean Israelite directing and sold an untitled sci-fi pitch to Pascal Pictures.
“Hammerspace” by Waes
HAMMERSPACE from Mike Van Waes, a touching story about a terminally-ill teenager who discovers an animated alternate dimension, wowed judges to land on the 2015 Hit List. It was bought by Warner Bros., with Dan Lin producing. Van Waes is the writer and artist behind the semi-autobiographical webcomic Vexed Wisecracker, previously featured on Advocate.com and now found at VexedWisecracker.com and various social media. His feature Grave Hearts was a 2014 Academy Nicholl Fellowship Finalist and his feature The Shivers was a 2014 Tracking Board Launch Pad Feature Finalist and featured on the 2014 Hit List. Finally, Van Waes is also adapting Peeves for 20th Century Fox Animation.
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
2014’s HIT-MAKERS: A LOOK BACK AT THE HIT LIST ALUMS