Quake pic shakin’ at WB

Studio pays low- to high-six figures for treatment

Here’s an unlikely idea for a film: a love story set amidst one of the century’s most famous disasters. But there are no sinking ships this time.

Warner Bros. on Friday confirmed its purchase of “1906,” a treatment about that year’s San Francisco earthquake, for Baltimore/Spring Creek Prods., the production company run by Barry Levinson and Paula Weinstein.

Treatment, said to be hotly sought by other buyers including DreamWorks, was written by James Dalessandro, who was also contracted to script a first draft of the screenplay in the low- against high-six-figure deal. Sources described the story as a romantic mystery set against the backdrop of excitement and political corruption that marked San Francisco at the turn of the century.

It was not clear if Levinson — who like Dalessandro lives near San Francisco in Marin County — will direct the pic, according to sources. Dalessandro is attached as exec producer, as is his manager Peter Miller.

The famous San Francisco temblor is considered one of the most devastating natural disasters in U.S. history. Recent estimates measure the quake at 8.3 on the Richter scale, and attribute to it some 3,000 deaths among those present when the April 18, 1906, quake leveled the city and sparked a deadly fire that burned for four days.

Dalessandro is author of “Bohemian Heart,” a mystery novel published in 1993, also set in San Francisco. He has written and sold several unproduced screenplays.

Dalessandro will also turn the treatment into a novel. Book rights will be auctioned July 7.

Dalessandro was repped in the deal by Miller, president of Gotham-based PMA Literary and Film Management Inc., and by attorney Robert Gaulin.