Guy Ritchie may have first gained global acclaim as the writer and director of crime thrillers like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. However, more recently, the director has focused on studio fare with his Sherlock Holmes films – that other hit franchise starring Robert Downey Jr.
In the wake of that series’ success, Ritchie has joined the ranks of Hollywood’s most in-demand directors. He was rumored to direct such myriad projects as a new Treasure Island adaptation, his own take on the King Arthur legend and a film starring DC Comics’ anti-hero Lobo before finally settling on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as his next project. Now it appears he may have already decided on his follow-up to U.N.C.L.E.
According to THR, Ritchie is attached to direct a film adaptation of the 2006 Thomas Kelly novel Empire Rising for Warner Bros. The story takes place in 1930 during the construction of the Empire State Building and follows a love triangle between steelworker/IRA gun-runner Michael Briody, painter Grace Masterson and mayoral aide Johnny Farell. Kelly – who currently serves as a writer/producer for BBC America’s Copper – will write the film, with Ritchie and Lionel Wigram (Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) attached to produce.
With its historical ties and dark secrets, Empire Rising does sound like it could be a riveting piece of cinema set during the Depression era. Ritchie has already proven that he can adeptly handle both period pieces and dark, complicated tales with his previous work, and Warner Bros. must be confident that he can deliver with Empire Rising. After all, the studio is responsible for his past three films, including The Man from U.N.C.L.E. starring Man of Steel star Henry Cavill.
In Empire Rising, the city of New York is reportedly as much a character as any of the flesh-and-blood humans its story features, and the fact that Kelly has previously used the city as a backdrop for the stories he’s told on both Copper and on the 8 episodes of Blue Bloods that he’s written certainly bodes well for Ritchie’s film. Of course, time will tell if all these elements come together to create a compelling film, though there is reason to be hopeful.
Do you think Ritchie is the right choice to direct Empire Rising, or should Warner Bros. have put their faith elsewhere? Let us know in the comments section below.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for updates on Empire Rising as the film gets closer to production.