A Kanye West biopic, tentatively titled The College Dropout, is among the screenplays featured on the 2021 edition of the Black List, as are seemingly surefire successes like the Martin Shkreli-focused The Villain and a previously-in-headlines slice of cinematic preposterousness about how Dennis Rodman spent a crucial 48-hour period in Las Vegas.
For those who don’t know, the Black List—dating back to 2005—annually releases a survey of the “most-liked unproduced screenplays” of the year. The lists are aggregated by way of votes from film execs, with this year’s assortment having been compiled using the suggestions of more than 375 people who work in the industry.
To qualify, this year’s screenplays must have been written in “or are somehow uniquely associated with” 2021. Furthermore, selected screenplays must not have launched principal photography during the current calendar year.
The Ye biopic, penned by Thomas Aguilar and Michael Ballin, currently lists Columbia Pictures as financiers. As implied by the title, the film would focus on the zeitgeist-bending artist’s debut album. Here’s more, straight from the Black List:
“A young Kanye West’s intimate journey to create his seminal first album that reinvented hip-hop music.”
Dennis Rodman’s 48 Hours in Vegas by Jordan VanDina, meanwhile, has been reported to count Phil Lord and Chris Miller as producers. Readers should recognize VanDina’s name for Hulu’s 2020 comedy The Binge, starring Vince Vaughn, while the Rodman project itself previously amassed those aforementioned headlines due to some Lionsgate action. Here’s the synopsis:
“Before Game 7 of the NBA finals, Dennis Rodman tells Phil Jackson he needs 48 hours in Vegas. What follows is a surreal adventure with his skittish assistant GM that involves a bull rodeo, parachuting out of a Ferrari and building a friendship that neither one of them ever thought was possible but will end up solving both of their problems.”
VanDina has been prolific in the realm of such work, having previously appeared on this very site due to his Weekend Scripts projects like this one about Fyre Festival and this one about a Wu-Tang Clan heist. The latter is wholly unrelated to the Shkreli biopic that’s featured among the 2021 class of Black List mentions, i.e. Andrew Ferguson’s The Villain. Ferguson’s screenplay tells the “completely outrageous and completely true story” of the so-called “Pharma Bro.”
Other 2021 Black List highlights include Air Jordan by Alex Convery (which brings to life the “wild true story” of how Nike landed the Michael Jordan deal), Michelle Askew’s Hot Girl Summer (which focuses on a 13-year-old girl named Beatrice who witnesses a drug deal gone wrong), The Masked Singer by Mike Jones and Nicholas Sherman (which follows actor Mickey Rourke as he “loses his mind” when forced to appear on The Masked Singer), a Michael Bay biopic from Sean Tidwell, an “absurdist biopic” about Trump’s “many rises and falls” from Hannah Mescon and Dreux Moreland titled Believe Me, and the Shania Twain-focused SHANIA! from Jessica Welsh.
Past success stories famously featured on previous iterations of the Black List include Promising Young Woman, King Richard, Slumdog Millionaire, and more.
For the full 2021 edition of the Black List in all its glory, head here.