Warner Bros. is keen on continuing its relationship with filmmaker Guy Ritchie for quite some time, it seems. Ritchie and the studio have paired on his last three films, RocknRolla, Sherlock Holmes, and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and the filmmaker is currently gearing up to direct The Man from U.N.C.L.E. for WB as well. Now THR reports that Warners has acquired the rights to the Thomas Kelly novel Empire Rising and will develop the project as a potential directing gig for Ritchie. The story takes place in 1930 and centers on events surrounding the construction of the titular Empire State Building, as a romantic triangle develops between Irish immigrant steelworker Michael Briody, Mayor Jimmy Walker’s criminal underworld liaison Johnny Farell, and a beautiful artist named Grace Masterson. Hit the jump for more, including a synopsis of the novel.
Kelly, who is a writer and producer on BBC America’s Copper, will pen the feature film adaptation and Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes/U.N.C.L.E. producing partner Lionel Wigram will produce. Richtie’s next project is Man from U.N.C.L.E. and he also has a third Sherlock Holmes film and a Treasure Island redo on the docket, so it might be a while before Empire Rising comes to fruition.
Here’s the synopsis for Thomas Kelly’s Empire Rising:
It is 1930, and ground has just been broken for the Empire State Building. One of the thousands of men who will come to work high above the city is Michael Briody, an Irish immigrant torn between his desire to make a new life in America and his pledge to gather money and arms for the Irish republican cause. When he meets Grace Masterson, an alluring artist who is depicting the great skyscraper’s rise from her houseboat on the East River, Briody’s life suddenly turns exhilarating–and dangerous–for Grace is also a paramour of Johnny Farrell, Mayor Jimmy Walker’s liaison with Tammany Hall and the underworld. [Amazon]