Leonardo DiCaprio Is THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY

by     Posted 3 years, 293 days ago

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It seems like Leonardo DiCaprio has played every type of role possible in his illustrious career thus far, but there’s one more he’d like to tack off of his list: serial killer. He is set to produce and star in an adaptation of the 2003 non-fiction book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by author Erik Larson. Deadline reports that DiCaprio acquired the rights through his Appian Way production company, in partnership with Double Features.

The book is based upon serial killer Dr. HH Holmes, who is said to have murdered anywhere between 27-200 people in Chicago during the time of the World’s Fair of 1893.  He used the fair to lure people into his World’s Fair Hotel, which was later deemed the “murder castle”, wherein he would murder his victims and disassemble their bodies to sell for scientific study.  The hotel included a gas chamber and a crematorium.  For a bit more on the flick, and to read the synopsis of the book, hit the jump.

devil_in_the_white_city_book_cover_erik_larsonDiCaprio has apparently been interested in this project for a while. Tom Cruise optioned the book back in 2003, intending to take on the lead role, and DiCaprio set up a rival project with plans to use the public domain rights to Holmes’ story.  Evidently, the Cruise film never materialized and DiCaprio jumped at the chance to snatch up the rights himself.  Currently, no writer or director is attached to the project, so it may take a while to come to fruition. But DiCaprio and the producers are said to be looking to hire someone to write the screenplay while they put together a package that they can shop around to studios in order to get the project financed.  Next up for DiCaprio is the titular role in Clint Eastwood’s Hoover biopic.  The actor is also under consideration to star in The Great Gastby.

A description of the book via Amazon:

Not long after Jack the Ripper haunted the ill-lit streets of 1888 London, H.H. Holmes (born Herman Webster Mudgett) dispatched somewhere between 27 and 200 people, mostly single young women, in the churning new metropolis of Chicago; many of the murders occurred during (and exploited) the city’s finest moment, the World’s Fair of 1893. Larson’s breathtaking new history is a novelistic yet wholly factual account of the fair and the mass murderer who lurked within it.




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  • Christophercantos

    Tim Burton and let him comeback to his “Ed Wood” style of film-making(which is to not make the same films over and over again). Sweeney Todd was great though

    • Christophercantos

      okay. that was probably a bad choice. Burton will never stay away from formula.

      a serious choice will be Michael Mann

  • rboticon

    sounds creepy…cant really imagine Dicaprio being right for the role. I think Sam Rockwell would do a pretty good job at it.

    • Tarangela_spyder

      I agree with you about DiCaprio playing Holmes. But I disagree regarding Sam Rockwell. He might be interesting, but I think Jude Law would provide the creepiness and the charisma needed to charm all of his victims.

  • Anonymous

    I just hope they don’t completely ignore the other half of the book, which I found even more compelling: the efforts to actually get the mammoth fair up and running in an absurdly short period of time. Lots of great larger-than-life characters to be found in there…

  • Anonymous

    I just hope they don’t completely ignore the other half of the book, which I found even more compelling: the efforts to actually get the mammoth fair up and running in an absurdly short period of time. Lots of great larger-than-life characters to be found in there…

  • Anonymous

    Fantastic novel! One of my favoites. Not only for the Holmes murders (more clever and cunning and vicious than Jack the Ripper), but for the incredible detail and atmosphere the author infuses into the events surrounding the building of the first World’s Fair. It’s an epic novel. So, count me excited! Now, to go dust off that adapted screenplay I wrote (heh, heh…).

  • Cbtaylo

    DiCaprio is the best, he would be a great charming devil in this movie

  • Cbtaylo

    DiCaprio is the best, he would be a great charming devil in this movie

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  • kendra

    Why is everyone hating on Leo? He’s a damn good actor.

  • Pingback: Leonardo DiCaprio to Produce and Star in JFK Assassination Pic, LEGACY OF SECRECY

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