Universal lays foundation for skyscraper pic

Disaster film from writer Mike Sobel set in Chicago

Universal Pictures has acquired a disaster project set in a super-skyscraper from writer Mike Sobel. Neal Moritz is producing via his Original Films banner.

The story, like that of "Towering Inferno," is set in the world's first mile-high skyscraper, fictionally built in Chicago, and centers on the Donald Trump-style developer as well as on the daring crew that rushes in to save the tower when it starts to falter.

Original's Tania Landau will executive produce.

Universal's Donna Langley and Jeff Kirschenbaum are overseeing the project.

Sobel, repped by APA and Underground Management, first hooked up with Moritz for "Animals," his critter-filled horror disaster spec set up at Columbia in which all the planet's animals, from wild creatures to pets, turn on humans.

Moritz is the producer behind Universal's "Fast and the Furious" franchise, the latest of which is slated to open June 12.