101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (*so far)

The moment screenwriter Susannah Grant first learned about Erin Brockovich, she knew she wanted to tell her story. It wasn’t just true, it was good: a twice-divorced single mother exposed and helped bring to justice Pacific Gas and Electric Company for poisoning the town of Hinkley, California’s water supply and covering it up. Grant summoned her own inner Brockovich, calling the producer with the story’s rights every couple weeks for months until finally scoring a meeting with Brockovich, who personally tapped her to tell the tale. “Let me tell you,” she explained in a 2000 keynote speech for the Academy Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting, “if you think turning a script into a studio is nerve-wracking, try turning it in to the person on whom [it’s] based.”