Echo Lake Productions and Royal Viking Entertainment have picked up Sean Sorensen’s spec We Interrupt This Program, based on the true story of Orson Welles’ famous radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds and the ensuing panic. Disney has picked up Tarell Alvin McCraney’s musical romance script Cyrano the Moor, which will combine elements from Cyrano de Bergerac and Othello. David Oyelowo and Jessica Oyelowo are set to produce. Phoenix Pictures is moving forward with A Country of Strangers, Sean Armstrong’s 2012 Black List script. The story follows the true story of a 40-year investigation into the disappearance of three young children in Australia. Murray Miller’s untitled buddy cop comedy has found a home at Universal. John Cena and Kumail Nanjiani will star, Ruben Fleischer will direct. Finally, Lisa Jones is set adapt Danielle McGuire’s non-fiction book At the Dark End of the Street for Invisible Pictures. Julie Dash to direct.
Other script sales:
- Matt Holloway and Art Marcum have been tapped to write the Men in Black spinoff for Sony.
- Eric Heisserer is set to script the Your Name remake for Bad Robot based on Makoto Shinkai’s 2016 Japanese animated film.
- Scott Bloom’s Roosevelt, a Theodore Roosevelt biopic, has found a home at Paramount. Martin Scorsese to direct, Leonard DiCaprio to star as Teddy himself.
- Sean Anders and John Morris to write Instant Family for Paramount. Anders will direct, Mark Wahlberg will star.
- JJ Abrams and Chris Terrio will write Star Wars: Episode IX. Abrams will also direct.
- Sean Carter to write and direct Suffer the Little Children, based on the Stephen King short story of the same name, for Voltage Pictures.
- Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, and Dave Callaham to script Wonder Woman 2 for DC and Warner Bros. Jenkins is also returning to direct.
The Library – Produced Scripts
At times, it feels as though Hollywood has exploited every moment in history for the sake of a movie. It’s becoming rarer and rarer to find a historical figure who hasn’t had their story portrayed in a film in some way, so nowadays, when a film zeroes in on an interesting event that few know about, it’s typically worth mentioning. However, director Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures goes a step further. The movie uses an event many people know about, John Glenn’s orbit around the Earth, as its backdrop but tells it from a perspective few were aware of.
Scripted by Allison Schroeder and Melfi and based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s book of the same name, Hidden Figures follows Katharine Johnson, an African American woman who calculated the trajectories that made Glenn’s mission possible, and her African American coworkers Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson during a time Virginia and NASA were still heavily segregated. Over the course of the movie, they rise in their respective fields and help make history at NASA.
Although it’s easy to see where the story is heading even with limited knowledge of the real Katharine Johnson, the moments Melfi and Schroeder chose to portray perfectly articulate the film’s themes and message. For example, one of Hidden Figures’ running threads follows Katharine as she attempts to use the restroom. Because the Langley Research Center’s bathrooms are still segregated, Katharine has to run to the basement of the only building on campus that houses a “colored” women’s room, located a half mile away, sometimes in the pouring rain, and always in high heels. But this provides a small example of the sort of race and gender discrimination these women faced throughout the movie. At every turn, they are either underestimated, ignored, or treated with hostility outright. However, most of the conflict and antagonism isn’t that explicit; rather, it’s the small reactions and subtle lines of dialogue that underscore the racism and sexism of the era. But because the odds are so heavily stacked against them, it’s hard not to hope they rocket through NASA’s glass ceiling, so to speak.
And in their own ways, Katharine, Mary, and Dorothy did. Hidden Figures may not have the intense stakes of a James Bond flick (and having the benefit of knowing the history of the Space Race and John Glenn’s mission in particular makes some plot points a foregone conclusion), but because the characters were so committed to their goals, their stories become compelling and inspirational. And the fact that the film’s themes and the characters’ struggles are still relevant today helps Hidden Figures stand out. In short, this is the sort of movie that the phrase “crowd-pleasing” was invented to describe.
Through annual competitions, Script Pipeline discovers and develops writers of all levels for film and television, connecting them to producers, agents, and managers. Since 1999, several produced films and over $6 million in screenplay and TV pilot spec sales from alumni are credited to Script Pipeline’s unique, intensive process of long-term writer-to-industry facilitation. Contest finalists and winners work with Script Pipeline’s senior executives year-around, getting broader exposure for their work in addition to continuous, one-on-one development assistance.
Recent success stories include competition alum Evan Daugherty selling Snow White and the Huntsman to Universal for $3 million and later taking the lead on studio projects Divergent, Ninja Turtles, and the upcoming Rose Red from Disney and Earthseed from Paramount. Evan was previously attached to write the limited series Esmeralda for ABC Studios, GI Joe 3 for Paramount, an adaptation of Myst for Hulu, and the Tomb Raider reboot. His contest-winning script Killing Season (formerly Shrapnel) was produced and starred Academy Award-winner Robert De Niro and John Travolta.
Tripper Clancy, another former Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest winner, sold the road comedy The Ambassadors to 20th Century Fox and the pitch Winter Break to QED International, and was previously attached to write the comedy Stranded for Sony. Tripper is currently writing the animated comedy Shedd for Paramount, in addition to Hacker Camp for Hasbro. In April 2016, he sold the spec Stuber to Fox for the mid-six figures, and in May 2017 was brought on board for an adaptation of the bestselling novel The Art of Fielding.
Micah Barnett, whose work was developed through Script Pipeline coverage services, sold The Rabbit to Warner Bros. for six-figures and a TV pilot, Ricochet, to NBC. Screenwriter Brian Watanabe had his Script Pipeline “Recommend” action/comedy, Rogue’s Gallery (later titled Operation: Endgame), also initially developed by Script Pipeline, produced by Michael Ohoven (Capote) and Sean McKittrick (Get Out). The film starred Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Adam Scott (Parks and Rec), Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent), Maggie Q, Ellen Barkin, Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), and an ensemble cast. The Living Wake, Script Pipeline’s first produced film starring Academy Award-nominee Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and comedian Mike O’Connell (Dr. Ken), received high praise when it made its festival debut in 2010.
In October 2017, production will begin on the 2015 Script Pipeline contest-winning screenplay Militia, written by Henry Dunham. Henry will make his directorial debut with the crime/thriller. The film is set to star Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead) and Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire). Madhouse Entertainment signed Henry a few weeks after he was announced as the winner of the competition, with UTA following suit.
Jen Goldson, another 2015 contest selection, saw her romantic comedy Off the Menu produced in 2016, starring Santino Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Dania Ramirez (Devious Maids). Jen was introduced to director Jay Silverman at a Script Pipeline event, and the screenplay went into production in less than a year. The film will be released in 2017.
A number of original feature and TV projects are in various stages of development, and well over 100 writers have signed with representation or had their work optioned as a result of facilitation. With Script Pipeline execs actively expanding their industry network on a daily basis, the company is continuously on the hunt for quality material to co-produce or help put into production.
By the end of 2017, it’s estimated that 15,000 screenplays, pilots, and original pitches will have been reviewed through the competitions, making Script Pipeline the leading review outlet for writers worldwide.
*Industry requests to review material from Script Pipeline writers can be made here.