Toon titan is quaking for Warners

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Brad Bird has signed on to make his live-action feature directorial debut with "1906," a co-production between Warner Bros. and Disney/ Pixar, with the historical San Francisco earthquake as its backdrop.

The story centers on a college student who begins to investigate the murder of his father, uncovering a web of deceit that has left the city vulnerable to the sort of fire that breaks out when the Great Earthquake of 1906 hits San Francisco.

Bird is rewriting the original John Logan script.

Paula Weinstein is producing the feature, while John Walker, Bird's producing partner, executive produces. Disney/Pixar will co-finance the movie. Courtenay Valenti is overseeing for Warners.

"1906" will mark a return for Bird to the studio that released his 1999 2-D-animated film "The Iron Giant." The movie was critically acclaimed though failed to muster much muscle at the boxoffice, causing some to suggest that Warner Bros. had failed to market the film aggressively enough.

In the period since, animation — especially the 3-D CGI variety — has become big business, and Bird has become one of the biggest and most respected names in the medium.

Bird, who has picked up Oscars for his past two efforts, Pixar's "Ratatouille" and "The Incredibles," has worked in live action before, helming an episode of "Amazing Stories" in 1987.

He is repped by attorney Jake Bloom.
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