Rajiv Joseph is currently making quite an impression in Hollywood with his screenplay "Draft Day," written with Scott Rothman. The football comedy is ranked No. 1 on this year's Black List, the movie industry's informal ranking of the most popular unproduced screenplays.
Joseph might be a fresh face in Hollywood, but he has already made a name for himself in the theater world, where his plays have garnered praise for their intelligence, topicality and sense of humor. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist two years ago for "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo," which ran at the Kirk Douglas Theatre and later at the Mark Taper Forum before transferring to Broadway.
His other plays include "Huck and Holden," "Gruesome Playground Injuries" and "The North Pool."
"Draft Day" is set in the world of the NFL and follows the general manager of the Buffalo Bills through a set of trying personal and professional decisions. Joseph said that he and Rothman were best friends from graduate school at New York University.
"We essentially stayed in touch, continued to read each other's work, and would make a point to watch football together, which eventually led to us developing this screenplay together," Joseph said in an e-mail.
"Scott and I are both football fans, obviously -- he's a Dolphins fan, and I'm a Browns fan."
It was reported earlier this year that Paramount had picked up "Draft Day" for development. But The Hollywood Reporter noted this week that Paramount has put the script in turnaround -- Hollywood-speak for when a studio wants to sell off a project it has been developing.
Joseph said "Draft Day" is with the Montecito Production Co., with Ivan Reitman attached to direct.
The playwright will debut a new stage musical next year called "Fly," adapted from J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan." The show, with music by Bill Sherman, will open at the Dallas Theater Center in July.
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