‘Lock Stock’s’ Guy Ritchie to take on Irish immigrant story of ‘Empire Rising’

Guy Ritchie is set to take the helm in the movie adaptation of the Thomas Kelly novel “Empire Rising”

Guy Ritchie, who directed “Lock Stock”, “Snatch” and the Robert Downey Jr incarnation of “Sherlock Holmes” is set to take the helm in the movie adaptation of the Thomas Kelly novel “Empire Rising.”

The novel is about a love triangle set against the backdrop of the construction of New York’s Empire State Building in the 1930s. Published in 2006 the novel shows two sides of New York as the Great Depression takes hold.

One side is that of Irish immigrant Michael Briody, a steelworker on the building, who is also running guns for the IRA. The other side is Johnny Farrell, a bagman for Mayor Jimmy Walker who is adept at running the corrupt political system. In the middle is the love interest, a beautiful artist named Grace Masterson. Historical figures also make appearances throughout the novel.

Kelly is currently producing the BBC America show “Copper” set in 1860s New York City during the American Civil War and starring Tom Weston-Jones as an Irish immigrant policeman, or "copper," who patrols the Five Points neighborhood. He’s also a writer and supervising producer on CBS’ “Blue Bloods,” which told of a family of New York cops.

The author has signed on to adapt the novel for the big screen and Lionel Wigram, who produced “Sherlock Holmes,” has also joined the team.

Ritchie is currently in pre-production mode on “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. It’s also expected that he’ll launch into a follow-up to the last “Sherlock Holmes” movie, in 2011. According to Yahoo! there are also rumors that he is involved in a new adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.”

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