With a writers strike set to start Monday, high-quality scripts that have already been completed are suddenly a hot commodity. In fact, let's be honest: they probably don't even have to be high-quality. Coincidentally -- and it is just a coincidence -- a list of well-regarded screenplays by non-American writers has begun to circulate, and Variety reports that it's getting some attention in Hollywood.

Called the Brit List, it was inspired by a Hollywood version known as the Black List, which producer Franklin Leonard compiles each year to identify the best unfilmed screenplays. The 2005 Black List's top scorers were Things We Lost in the Fire, Juno, and Lars and the Real Girl -- titles you should recognize now as being 2007 critical darlings and potential award-winners.

For the U.K. version, an anonymous British agent polled 40 of her colleagues, seeking input only on non-U.S. works. Any script that was mentioned by at least two of the people surveyed made the list, and a total of 49 screenplays are represented.

So what's the most-favored script? With 12 of the 40 respondents naming it, it's Men Who Stare at Goats, about the U.S. Army's psychological experiments, based on Jon Ronson's book. The writer is Peter Straughan, whose adaptation of the memoir How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is in production now, to be released in late 2008.

Straughan also had two other scripts on the Brit List: 5 Psychopaths Go to Vancouver (aka 3 Bad Men) and Noir. Another writer has three on there, too -- Paul Webb, a complete newcomer who's never had anything produced before. And all of a sudden he's got three good screenplays written? Wow. Somebody give this guy a job! His three on the list are Selma, Four Knights, and Spanish Assassins. Four Knights, based on Webb's play, has been "in production" forever.

Now that Hollywood is desperately in need of new product, will producers reach across the pond to make deals with U.K. writers? Even without the strike, some of these projects sound fascinating and worthy of being made. Check out the whole list here.
categories Cinematical