Love story set against the raising of the Empire State Building. Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to Irish-American writer Thomas Kelly’s 2006 paperback ‘Empire Rising,’ with plans to develop the project as a directing vehicle for Guy Ritchie (‘Sherlock Holmes,’ ‘Snatch’). “It is 1930, and ground has just been broken for the Empire State Building. One of the thousands of men who will come to work high above the city is Michael Briody, an Irish immigrant torn between his desire to make a new life in America and his pledge to gather money and arms for the Irish republican cause. When he meets Grace Masterson, an alluring artist who is depicting the great skyscraper’s rise from her houseboat on the East River, Briody’s life suddenly turns exhilarating–and dangerous–for Grace is also a paramour of Johnny Farrell, Mayor Jimmy Walker’s liaison with Tammany Hall and the underworld.” Kelly, a writer and producer on the TV series ‘Copper,’ will pen the adaptation. Niija Kuykendall will oversee the project for Warner Bros. with Peter Eskelsen executive producing. Richtie’s next offering, a big screen take on classic spy series ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ starring Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill, is currently in pre-production.