|Directed by||Brad Bird|
|Produced by||Len Amato
Spring Creek Productions
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures (worldwide)|
|Release date(s)||United States:
set for 2012
|Budget||est. $200 million|
1906 is an upcoming disaster film directed by Brad Bird and based on events just prior to and during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The film examines corruption within the then government of San Francisco, as well as the policemen who worked to defeat these criminal activities.
Based on the best-selling novel 1906 by James Dalessandro, the film will mark the first time director Brad Bird and Pixar have forayed into live-action film. It will be the second live-action film released that Pixar was involved with, following the Disney·Pixar production, John Carter of Mars.
1906 follows a young investigative reporter and a young cop trying to uncover rampant political corruption in 1906 San Francisco. The city is one of the most beautiful in the world, but underneath the veneer there is mob rule, Shanghaiing, and even trafficking in Chinese slave girls.
Annalisa Passarelli, the Evening Bulletin's music critic, is secretly helping Byron Fallon, the chief of detectives, gather dirt on ficitional character Adam Rolf. Rolf runs a corrupt political syndicate and secretly spreads his influence via his proxy, mayor Eugene Schmitz, an actual historical figure. Schmitz employs an army of goons on the waterfront led by the unsavory character, James "Shanghai" Kelly, also a real person. Byron is killed right as he is about to arrest the mayor. So Byron's son, Hunter, a former student, teams up with Annalisa and the Brotherhood, a group of honest cops, to bring down Rolf. Before they can incriminate Rolf, the San Francisco Earthquake plunges the city into chaos. The widespread acts of fraud and profiteering in the city government further complicate the already tragic disaster.
The historical figure Enrico Caruso is also included. Based on true events, the famous tenor sang at the San Francisco Opera House five hours before the quake hit, and then sang from his hotel room as he surveyed the carnage.
Dalessandro began researching 1906 in 1997 as a prequel to his 1993 historical mystery novel Bohemian Heart. When Titanic became a blockbuster in 1997, Peter Miller, Dalessandro's manager, urged him to get a detailed film treatment ready. They pitched to directors' production companies, specifically Spielberg's DreamWorks, Barry Levinson's company Baltimore Spring Creek, and Wolfgang Peterson's company.
According to Dalessandro, the pitch was "Titanic was a boat in the North Atlantic - this is an entire city, the most beautiful we've ever seen, destroyed in 40 hours." There was an instant bidding war, and within 24 hours they had sold the script to Warner Bros. for six figures. The script then went to Barry Levinson and Paula Weinstein and Spring Creek Productions for production. They settled on this company because producer Len Amato wanted Dalessandro to write at least three drafts, giving the writer more influence. After finishing the drafts, Dalessandro released a best-selling novel by the same name in 2004.
The film has an estimated budget of $200 million, and because of the massive size and scale of the project, it is also financially backed by Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Studios, making it the first time Pixar has been involved in live-action film. Pixar executive John Lasseter is also involved.
Academy Award-winning director Brad Bird was selected to direct the film, making it his first live action endeavor after working at Pixar. He paused work on the project to direct the 2007 Pixar film Ratatouille, then officially signed onto the 1906 project in March 2008, when Warner Bros. promptly reserved all sound-studios available on their Burbank lot for production.
However, later that spring, Warner Bros. quietly released the reservations, and Brad Bird has been rewriting the screenplay in order to decrease the massive scope of the story. Much like Titanic, the studios openly admit the film has enormous box office potential, but blogger Jim Hill suggested the film's start date was postponed due to Disney/Pixar and Warner Bros.' nervousness over the projected $200 million budget.