Long-term collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese’s feature-length adaptation ‘The Devil in the White City’ has changed formats and will now be turned into an event series.
The project, which has been in development since as far back as 2003, is an adaptation of Erik Larson’s famed book of the same name. The story is set against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the series tells the intertwining stories of the fair architect Daniel H. Burnham and serial killer H.H. Holmes, a charming sociopath who lured his victims to their deaths in his elaborately constructed “Murder Castle”.
Based on real characters and events, the book is divided into four parts with the first three parts focusing on Chicago between 1890 and 1893 and the fourth in Philadelphia around 1895. The layout of the story is much better placed as a series than a feature-length production.
Dr HH Holmes was a hotelier who is believed to have slaughtered anywhere from 27 to 200 people, mainly young single women whom he lured to his World’s Fair Hotel in Chicago.
A real doctor, Holmes had a morbid fascination with corpses and skeletons. He preyed on his employees, lovers and hotel guests, often gassing them in their soundproofed rooms and transporting them by secret chute to the basement, where he had two giant furnaces, several pits of acid and even a stretching rack. He would then proceed to cut up the corpses and sell the body parts to medical researchers.
DiCaprio first acquired the rights to the story in 2010, Scorsese jumped onboard the retelling in 2015. Both men will serve as executive producers on the project alongside Stacey Sher, Rick Yorn, Emma Koskoff, and Jennifer Davisson. Paramount Television will produce
Tom Cruise initially optioned the story back in 2003 with a view to playing Holmes.