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Guy Ritchie may helm Empire Rising for Warner Bros

08.20.2013

Guy Ritchie has been tied to numerous projects since helming SHERLOCK HOLMES; everything from THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (which is his next film) to a CANNONBALL RUN remake and even a James Bond movie. All have some sort of crime element to them but he is capable of so much more. What Ritchie should do next may be exactly what he needs: a historical epic.

Deadline reports that Warner Bros has picked up the rights to the 2006 book EMPIRE RISING about the construction of New York City's famous Empire State Building. Now, on the surface, a movie about the creation of a skyscraper may not sound like thrilling filmmaking, but think of the visual shots of workers dangling from steel beams thousands of feet in the air. We know for a fact many lost their lives tragically in the construction process, so a film chronicling the struggles to complete the building from the men who actually did it would be quite a story.

Author Thomas Kelly's EMPIRE RISING does have elements of a criminal underworld that we have come to associate with Guy Ritchie's work. Check out the synopsis of the novel:

Kelly's story is basically the tale of a love triangle between Johnny Farrell, an important aide to the mayor; Johnny's artist girlfriend, Grace Masterson; and construction worker and part-time boxer Michael Briody. Each of these characters represents, without the flatness of type, a significant element of the fabric of New York City as the Empire State Building rises ethereally above the street-level realities of hard economic times and how big-city government works. Kelly successfully melds actual historical figures and fictional ones, but in the end, it is New York City itself that emerges as the central character here: a place that makes people the way they are.

Much like TITANIC, EMPIRE RISING could be a huge scale film with a romantic twist that would be a major box office success if stacked with the right talent. I am still waiting for the similarly themed 1906, Brad Bird's dream project about the deadly San Francisco earthquake, but I would be happy to see what Ritchie would do with a story like this.

Source: Deadline

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