Michael Kuhn has partnered with Academy Award-winning producer David Parfitt on Sky Boys, an action drama that marks the first project unveiled in the former PolyGram Filmed Entertainment chief's bid to make big-budget European films.

The story of a heist on the Empire State building during its construction has been written by Kirk De Micco and Frederik Du Chau, who respectively wrote and directed Warner Bros' family animation, Quest For Camelot.

Parfitt, whose credits include Shakespeare In Love, The Madness Of King George and the upcoming I Capture The Castle, will produce. The project is still in early development and is yet to go out to directors.

Set in New York during the Depression, the story follows two Irish immigrants working as sky boys, the men welding the steel core of the world's tallest building. One is an ex-con trying to go straight, but the other orchestrates the theft of a week's payroll to clear gambling debts. The minute the theft is discovered, the building is locked down and they are unable to get the money out.

Kuhn's London-based company Kuhn & Co recently announced a deal with Twentieth Century Fox, financing house Citibank and German tax money to make large-scale projects.

Kuhn also has slate development funding from Government-backed UK support body the Film Council. Fox is to distribute up to ten titles over four years in North America, the UK, Italy, Germany and Latin America. The films are expected to range in budget from $10m to $50m.