From a junket interview during the release of the prestige 2006;
Q: Are you writing anything on your own right now?
JN: Yeah, I'm writing a movie right now for Warner Bros. about the Chicago fire. I grew up in Chicago so it's really been great. It's kind of a revenge story set in the Chicago fire.
Q: Is the revenge against the cow? (laughter)
JN: The cow is alive. (laughter) The cow is anti-Irish propaganda. Our familyâ€™s Irish soâ€¦When you grow up in Chicago, it's a story that everyone hears. It's Mrs. O'Leary's cow. The idea is it's 1871, right? Chicago is this sort of booming, emerging town sprung out almost over night. And this dumb Irish lady goes out to milk her cow in the middle of the night and she's drunk, of course. The cow knocks over a lantern and burns down the entire city. It's actually not true. The fire started in her barn, but no one has any idea of what actually started it. Definitely not her. There was a bunch of journalists who came in from New York the next day who were looking for a good angle on the fire. They were like 'drunk Irish lady. That's perfect.' Because the Irish were sort of a subclass in Chicago at the time. They were really, really hated and there was a lot of discrimination there so it was a perfect story. The theories about what actually started the fire range from the most likely scenario which is a bunch of little kids smoking cigars in the barn to a meteorite that exploded over the Midwest.
Q: And of course you want it to be the meteorite.
JN: The meteorite is much more cinematic. What's weird is that the same day as the fire in Chicago, there was a fire in Peshtigo, Wisconsin which is about an hour and a half away which killed 3,000 people. No one has ever heard of it. It remains the worst natural disaster in the history of the country. Nobody has ever heard about it because it happened the same day as the Chicago fire.
Q: How many died in the Chicago fire?
Q: Do we know who is going to be directing that movie yet? Is it just in the early stages?
JN: No, it's still in the pretty early stages. Itâ€™s just me. I mean Chris is... I would find it impossible to work without consulting my brother and sort of availing myself of his ideas, but yeah it's just me in a work yard with a couple producers at Warner Brothers.
It would be great if Chris got onboard and got this project back on its feet (after Interstellar)