The Black List is an annual ranking of Hollywood’s most promising yet-to-be-produced screenplays. Past years have highlighted eventual awards-grabbers like Argo, American Hustle, and The Social Network, as well as genre entries like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. This year’s mix is similarly all over the map.
The complete 2015 list can be read on the Black List’s website, but here are some of our favorites, starting with this year’s top vote-getter: Bubbles, by Isaac Adamson. It sounds wonderfully nutty and hopefully someone will have the bananas to produce it:
A baby chimp is adopted by the pop star Michael Jackson. Narrating his own story, Bubbles the Chimp details his life within The King of Pop’s inner circle through the scandals that later rocked Jackson’s life and eventually led to Bubbles’ release.
Other intriguing picks among the other top vote-getters:
Crater by John J. Griffin: On the moon, five teens take an unauthorized and adventure-filled road trip just before one of them is to be sent away on a seventy-five year journey to another planet, leaving behind his best friends.
Pale Blue Dot by Brian C Brown and Elliot DiGuisseppi: Twelve months after returning from a space mission, decorated astronaut Laura Pepper is arrested for the attempted murder of a fellow astronaut.
(The latter is based on the real-life case of Lisa Nowak, sounds like.)
Plus, four tales of boys tangling with spooky and unknown forces:
Eli by David Chirchirillo: Having moved into a “clean house” to treat his auto-immune disorder, eleven-year-old Eli begins to believe that the house is haunted. Unable to leave, Eli soon realizes that the house, and the doctor who runs it, are more sinister than they appear.
The Water Man by Emma Needell: A young boy tries to save his mother from terminal cancer by seeking out the town’s bogeyman, “The Water Man,” who is fabled to have conquered death.
Boy by Mattson Tomlin: A teenage boy is born with special abilities and spends his childhood switching names and cities so as to keep his identity hidden. When he loses control and accidentally kills his father, he and his mother have to go on the run.
Hammerspace by Mike Van Waes: A terminally-ill teenager looking for answers about his missing father finds a key that unlocks an opening to an alternate animated dimension and a new friend who helps him repair his broken family.
Two tales of serial killers:
The Wretched Emily Derringer by Chris Thomas Devlin: Gleefully terrifying her small town as a serial killer known as “The Misfit Butcher,” 13-year-old Emily Derringer becomes annoyed when a new killer comes to town and residents begin attributing his sloppy murders to the Misfit Butcher. In a macabre coming of age story, Emily must deal with her competition while also taking on the other trials and tribulations of junior high school life.
Crimson Trail by Jeremy Shipp: Devastated by the cold-blooded murder of his family, a devout frontier preacher risks his soul to lead a posse in pursuit of the Harpe Brothers—America’s first serial killers. Based on a true story.
And this thriller about the aftermath of an alien war:
Morningstar by David Birke: The war is over. A bitter and uneasy truce has been reached with an invading alien race, and a new cold war has begun. Fueled by suspicions of an alien spy in their ranks, the United Nations Intelligence Division entrusts their top agent, Martin Webber, with finding the mole.
Other entries include a new script for classic tale Treasure Island, and re-imaginings (re-re-imaginings?) of Romeo and Juliet and Rapunzel.
Top image: “Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988, Porcelain” by artist Jeff Koons on display during a retrospective exhibition in the Centre Pompidou modern art museum in Paris, France, Tuesday Nov. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)