Firefighter pic expected to start prod'n next year

Jay Russell is developing and is in negotiations to direct “Ladder 49″ for Disney.

Pic, penned by Lewis Colick, is being produced by Casey Silver, who is also teaming with Disney on “Hidalgo.”

Disney senior veepee Brad Epstein and creative executive Jill Morris will oversee project for the studio.

“Ladder 49″ is the story of a veteran firefighter who, while trapped in what could be the fire that will kill him, looks back over his professional life, his heroic career and his family life.

Pic is expected to start production next year.

Russell, repped by CAA, most recently teamed with Disney on “Tuck Everlasting,” to be released Friday. Other recent feature credits include “My Dog Skip” and “End of the Line.”

Colick also recently penned “Domestic Disturbance” and “October Sky.”

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