Following decades of appearances in movies, the trend toward telling “origin stories” has inevitably reached the Empire State Building, whose early beginnings will finally be explored in a new movie from Warner Bros. The Hollywood Reporter says the studio has picked up the rights to Empire Rises, Thomas Kelly’s 2006 historical novel about an “epic love triangle set in 1930 just as construction on the iconic building begins,” back when the Empire State Building was just a scrappy pile of scrap.
Kelly, who’s also a writer-producer on Copper, will return to his preferred milieus of early New York and metals by adapting his own novel, with Sherlock Holmes’ Guy Ritchie on board to produce and potentially direct, having shown similarly great affection for noisily constructing elaborate, yet ultimately cold artifices. According to the plot description, Empire Rises involves an Irish immigrant steelworker/IRA gunrunner who squares off against a bagman for a corrupt politician, after they both fall for the same girl—in an era where there was only like one, non-syphillis-ridden girl per every 10 secret IRA agents/corrupt politicians. Then, presumably, the Empire State Building completes its training with a group of Shaolin monks, returns to New York, and squashes all of them.