Manuel here to share some of the best unproduced screenplays written by women (according to industry insiders).
The Black List, now in its tenth iteration, compiles an annual list of the most liked unproduced screenplays. Since 2004, some of the screenplays featured on here have gone on to become Oscar-winning films like Argo, Juno, and The King’s Speech, as well as modest successes like Lars and the Real Girl, Charlie Wilson’s War and 50/50. Even current Oscar-favorite The Imitation Game topped the list in 2011. Other titles like Recount, Things We Lost in the Fire, The Beaver and Snow White and the Huntsman have been featured. That is to say, it’s quite a mixed bag (this year includes a screenplay for Wonka, for example, “a dark, reimagining of the Willy Wonka story beginning in World War II and culminating with his takeover of the chocolate factory,” which… well, to each their own).
This is the first year a screenplay written by a woman has topped the list:
CATHERINE THE GREAT by Kristina Lauren Anderson
Sophia Augusta takes control of her life, her marriage, and her kingdom becoming Russia’s most celebrated and beloved monarch: Catherine the Great.
In terms of casting my mind immediately went to Keira Knightley but that might be the Anna Karenina flashbacks. Such beautiful, gorgeously designed flashbacks! While female monarch films (including former Black List entries, Grace of Monaco and The Other Boleyn Girl) have not been outright hits, wouldn't you love to see this on screen with... Alicia Vikander? Diane Kruger? Rebecca Hall? Who would you go with?
Though perhaps, like Elizabeth, this film would do well to introduce us to a fresh, exciting talent. A tall order, I know.
Three other female screenwriters made the Top Ten with decidedly genre entries: Aether (by Krysty Wilson-Cairns) is set in a near future London where a revolutionary technology can record sounds hours after they were made; Situation Comedy (by Cat Vasko) is about a young woman who stumbles into a mysterious courtyard where she is transported into a sitcom-like universe, becoming a major character on this “TV show,” and Tau (by Noga Landau) is about a woman held captive in the futuristic smart house of a serial kidnapper. Sadly, the rest of the list does not bear out that early promise. The full list of 70 scripts shared only features four other scripts written by women.
Do any of these films feel like the next Juno (still the most high profile female-written Black List vetted script)? Do you have any better suggestions as to who would/should play Catherine should Anderson’s film be produced?