While working with director Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street, Goodfellas), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) has played a variety of characters, some based on real people, while others were created from scratch. In The Aviator, DiCaprio played the agoraphobic aviation tycoon Howard Hughes, while in The Wolf of Wall Street, he portrayed the ruthless and corrupt stockbroker Jordan Belfort.
Now, DiCaprio will reunite with Scorsese to bring another infamous figure’s life to the big screen. DiCaprio will play H. H. Holmes, one of Chicago’s most prolific serial killers, in the long-in-development adaptation of Devil in the White City, which the actor first joined in 2010.
Deadline is reporting Paramount Pictures won a bidding war for the rights to Erik Larson’s book about the serial killer, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. DiCaprio is set to star, Scorsese to direct, and the film will be penned by Billy Ray (Captain Phillips, The Hunger Games). DiCaprio will also produce alongside his Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson, Stacey Sher, and Scorsese.
The Devil in the White city depicts Holmes, who murdered between 27 and 200 people, while Chicago hosted the World’s Fair of 1893 by constructing The World’s Fair Hotel, where he lured his victims – especially young single women. Larson’s novel also follows Daniel H. Burnham, the architect behind the World’s Fair.
Given their previous efforts, it may be safe to say Devil in the White City will be another successful collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio. In addition to The Aviator and The Wolf of Wall Street, the pair have worked on Gangs of New York, Shutter Island, and The Departed. Their previous films have largely garnered critical praise and recognition by the Academy Awards.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this adaptation is the departure it will offer DiCaprio from typical roles, being that Holmes is a remorseless killer and villain. The actor has played plenty of morally ambiguous characters in the past, and though Jordan Belfort was by no means a hero, DiCaprio’s only other true role as a villain may be his turn as Calvin Candie in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Looking at his portrayal of Candie, viewers may expect DiCaprio to bring some of that oily charisma to the character of Holmes – who was, after all, capable of luring so many people to their deaths.
Of course, since Devil in the White City will have DiCaprio playing an infamous serial killer and the actor will be working with Scorsese rather than Tarantino, the needs of his performance will likely be somewhat different. But, as he did in Django, DiCaprio has proven himself capable of bringing to the screen a truly villainous and yet still compelling character. That is one important aspect that may help bring Holmes to life in this upcoming adaptation of Devil in the White City.
What do you think of Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese teaming up again to bring H. H. Holmes to life? Let us know in the comments!
Devil in the White City is currently in development. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more information as it becomes available.