Guy Ritchie Will Produce And Possibly Direct 1930s Romance Empire Rising

By Nick Venable 2013-08-20 19:24:49discussion comments
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I’ll assume that no one remembers the last time director Guy Ritchie had the completely misguided idea to make a romantic comedy. The year was 2002, the film was Swept Away, and the number of Razzies it won was five - including worst picture and worst director. So it is with much trepidation that we pass on The Hollywood Reporter’s news that Ritchie could potentially helm an adaptation of Thomas Kelly’s novel Empire Rising, a love story set against the backdrop of the Empire State Building’s construction. But while he's not set to helm the project just yet, he’ll definitely be producing it with Lionel Wigram under their shared Warner Bros.-based production shingle. We’ll have to wait and see if he takes on a larger role.

Kelly will be adapting his own novel, which was first published in 2006. As a writer and producer on the enjoyable BBC America crime series Copper, Kelly definitely has a vested interest in old school New York City, and has set several of his other novels in the city as well. He’s also a writer and producer on the CBS New York cop drama Blue Bloods. Empire Rising received a good amount of critical praise upon its release, and the subject matter is certainly strong enough to make a decent feature. So while Kelly seems perfect for this job, I’m still not sure if Ritchie should be the guy who should be directing it.

In 1930, just as construction is beginning on what would then be the tallest building in world, Irish immigrant Michael Briody is trying to begin a life imbued with the “American Dream” while also running guns for the Irish Republican Army. He soon becomes enamored with artist Grace Masterson, who is capturing the building’s construction from her houseboat. It isn’t quite a match made in heaven, as Grace is also carrying on a relationship with Johnny Farrell, liaison between Mayor Jimmy Walker and the city’s underworld. Things get pretty dangerous for Michael, but it’s all worth it for love, right? No? Well what about for a big building? It's said that other historical figures will also make appearances in the film as well.

Warner Bros. seems to be content carrying on their professional relationship with Ritchie. His last three movies were made with the studio. While RocknRolla wasn’t really a hit, Sherlock Holmes and its sequel combined to earn over a billion dollars globally.

WB is also behind the feature version of the classic spy series The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which Ritchie is directing based on a script he co-wrote with Wigram. That project is in pre-production and set to begin filming in September.

Are you guys interested in seeing the director once again flip from action-heavy comedies to a more subdued romance?
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