Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese's long-gestating The Devil In The White City adaptation is becoming a TV show for Hulu. The highly acclaimed director/star duo have worked together a total of five times now, bringing in some of the biggest success of either of their careers. Scorsese has the anticipated Netflix film The Irishman due out sometime in 2019, and DiCaprio reunites with his Django Unchained director, Quentin Tarantino, in this summer's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
The project has been in production for years now. Tom Cruise first acquired the rights to the book back in 2003, but the studio let the rights lapse in 2004 and again in 2007 due to budget problems. Later, Kathryn Bigelow was attached to direct and produce. It wasn't until 2010 that DiCaprio, said to to be fascinated by the novel's subject, nabbed the rights himself. DiCaprio and Scorsese will now find themselves working together once again on this small screen adaptation of Erik Larson's book, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America.
According to Variety, it turns out The Devil In The White City will finally be adapted but instead of a movie, the project will now be a TV series with DiCaprio set to executive produce alongside Scorsese. The news also broke that Stacey Sher, Rick Yorn, Emma Koskoff, and Jennifer Davisson will executive produce alongside the power duo with Paramount Television producing. The news was announced during Monday’s Television Critics Association winter press tour where Hulu’s senior vice president of originals, Craig Erwich, announced the development. It is the latest project for Paramount TV at Hulu following Looking For Alaska, which stars Kristine Froseth and Charlie Plummer. It's unknown at this time whether DiCaprio will play a role in the show, as it’s yet to be clear if he’ll star in the series or simply produce.
Larson's 2003 book tells the story of Dr. H. H. Holmes, a serial killer and the man behind the “Murder Castle” at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. It follows Daniel H. Burnham, a demanding but brilliant architect who races to make his mark on the world and Henry H. Holmes, a devious doctor who fashioned his own pharmaceutical “Murder Castle” on the fairgrounds. This so-called "Murder Castle" was a palace built to seduce, torture and mutilate young women.
The Devil In The White City is a sordid tale that takes readers on a tour of murder, romance, and mystery in the gilded age. It's also a fascinating and well-told story, one that juxtaposes human cruelty with human ingenuity. A series might be a better way to adapt the nearly 500-page novel than a movie. Half the story would likely be dropped in order to focus exclusively on Holmes' side of the story, which is the more sensational of the two men's narratives. It would be a shame to lose sight of Daniel Hudson Burnham and his architecturally struggles and achievements that the book expounds. As a series for Hulu, there will be enough time to give both characters and their stories some narrative breathing room.
There is no word yet on when production may start on The Devil In The White City at this time.