Black List 2023: Tom Hanks Kidnapping, Rescue Dog Who Suspects Owner is Serial Killer Top Annual Script Ranking

At the close of a particularly fraught year for Hollywood screenwriters, Monday saw the release of the annual Black List – a ranking of the top unproduced scripts in show business.

Voted on by nearly 400 creative executives, this year’s favorite project that has yet to receive a greenlight is “Bad Boy” by Travis Braun, described simply as the tale of a rescue dog who suspects his loving new owner is a serial killer. C2 Motion Picture Group is financing the project and meeting with potential distribution partners imminently.

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The list includes 76 titles and covers wide narrative ground. Kirill Baru and Eric Zimmerman’s “The Great Pretender” is the story of America’s sweetheart Tom Hanks getting kidnapped, and the doppelgänger who must step in to save him. Hunter Toro’s “Boy Falls From Sky” tells of an anxious playwright whose world is turned upside down by lies and bone-crushing accidents as he mounts the Broadway show “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” In Jordan Rosenbloom’s “Spoiler,” a movie exec gets trapped inside a script he passed on, and must escape before the credits roll.

Black List Founder Franklin Leonard issued his yearly reminder that the ranking is a “most liked” selection, not a “best of.” He also celebrated the art form after a contentious labor strike disrupted the entire industry over the summer.

“This year, the industry was defined by a debate about the value of writers within it, and I think it’s inevitable that this year’s Black List means more than it has in the past,” he said. “I’ve been saying that writing is the lifeblood of the industry for almost 20 years now, and I’ll continue saying it until the industry actually starts acting like it.”

Read the top ten most popular titles, and head to The Black List for the full report:

BAD BOY by Travis Braun:
Agency: United Talent Agency
Agent: Charles Ferraro, Zoe Prince
Management Company: Echo Lake Entertainment
Managers: Matt Horwitz, Amotz Zakai

Production Company/Financier: C2 Motion Picture Group

A rescue dog suspects his loving new owner is a serial killer.

STAKEHORSE by Justin Piasecki:
Agency: Paradigm
Agent: Ethan Neale, Mark Ross, Matt Snow
Management Company: Range Media Partners
Managers: Rich Cook, Michael Cooper, Michael Kagan
Financier: Amazon/MGM
Production Company: Hidden Pictures

A racetrack veterinarian who runs an off-the-books ER for criminals finds his practice and life in jeopardy when he’s recruited for his patient’s heist.

SPOILER by Jordan Rosenbloom:
Management Company: Grandview
Managers: Zac Frognowski, Adam Klein
After passing on a hot new screenplay, a studio executive finds himself trapped as the protagonist inside the film and must regain control before the credits roll.

HEAD GAMES by Colin Liddle:
Agency: Creative Artists Agency
Agent: Anna Jinks
Management Company: Grandview
Managers: Erick Mendoza
Production Company: Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Everlast Pictures, Range Media Partners
A corporate spy poses as a personal chef to the disgraced founder of a neuroprosthetics firm in order to steal his seismic-shifting new invention from his secluded villa in Greece.

DIDIER by Jackson Kellard:
Management Company: Rain
Managers: Lucius Cary, Matt Rosen
The inspiring true story of international soccer icon Didier Drogba and his efforts to end a bloody civil war in his home country of Ivory Coast; not just with the skill of his feet, but also with the power of his voice

HIGH CONCEPT by Alex Kavutskiy, Ryan Perez:
Management Company: Artists First
Managers: Haley Jones, Peter Principato, Itay Reiss
Production Company: Vertigo
In the early 2000s, two totally opposite best friends, Mike (an uptight lawyer) and BJ (a stoner slacker), awake one morning to find that they have swapped bodies, are stuck in a time loop, and are afflicted with many other high-concept comedy premises of that era. Drawing upon their knowledge of those type of movies, Mike & BJ must learn their lesson(s) and get their lives back to normal.

PATSY by Filipe Coutinho:
Management Company: Rain
Managers: Matt Rosen
The untold and unfiltered true story of legendary country singer Patsy Cline, from her humble beginnings in Virginia to her untimely death at the height of her fame

FORBIDDEN FRUITS by Meredith Alloway, Lily Houghton:
Agency: United Talent Agency / William Morris Entertainment
Agent: Anna Flickinger, Ava Myint, Rachel Viola (Houghton), Annabel Gualazzi, McCall Koenig, Brett Rosen, Sarah Self (Alloway)
Management Company: Echo Lake Entertainment
Managers: Trent Hubbard
roduction Company: MXN
Free People employee Apple secretly runs a witchy femme cult in the basement of the mall store after hours with fellow fruits Cherry and Fig. But when new hire Pumpkin challenges their ‘girl boss’ ways, the women are forced to face their own poisons or succumb to a bloody fate.

RETURN TO SENDER by Russell Goldman:
Agency: Verve Talent And Literary Agency
Agent: Noah Liebmiller, Olivia Mascheroni, Nicky Mohebbi
Production Company: Comet Pictures, Molly Hallam
When a woman experiences delivery scams that grow increasingly personal and strange, she becomes hellbent on discovering her anonymous sender.

FIRST YOU HEAR THEM by Sean Harrigan:
Management Company: Empirical Evidence
Managers: Derrick Eppich
Production Company: Platinum Dunes, Cameron Alexander, Gille Klabin
A group of twenty-somethings try the ‘perfect drug’ for the first time. It’s only when they come down from the euphoric high that the hauntings begin: First you hear them. Then you see them. Then they come for you.

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