Nearly two decades after it was first optioned, The Devil in the White City is finally making its way to a small screen near you. Keanu Reeves is attached to star in the long-gestating adaptation of Erik Larson’s bestseller for Hulu, where it will air as an eight-part limited series. The Devil in the White City has everything: serial killers, “murder castles,” carnivals, and most importantly, Keanu Reeves. Read on a full breakdown of everything we know about the series thus far.
What Is The Devil in the White City About?
Published in 2003, The Devil in the White City is a work of historical nonfiction set at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. There, an architect and a murderer collided during the historic fair. The architect was Daniel H. Burham, the visionary designer of structures like the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington D.C., who overcame tremendous obstacles to transform a swampy patch of land into the fair’s White City. The murderer was Dr. Henry H. Holmes, America’s first modern serial killer, who notably constructed the notorious “Murder Castle” in the fair’s shadow, which contained a dissection table, a gas chamber, and a crematorium. The Devil in the White City spins a spellbinding tale of how these two men’s lives intersected.
What Was The Devil in the White City’s Path to the Screen?
It’s been a long and winding road for The Devil in the White City to land at Hulu. Way back in 2003, Tom Cruise snatched up the rights and attached Kathryn Bigelow to direct, but both ultimately parted ways with the project. In 2008, Eric Roth (the writer of Forrest Gump) wrote a script that reportedly interested David Fincher, but the project once again fizzled. Then, in 2010, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions acquired the film rights. In 2015, Martin Scorsese came aboard to direct, but it wasn’t until 2019 that the project ultimately headed to Hulu. Now, three years later, The Devil in the White City finally has one of its leading men—and a production order, too.
Reeves will star as Daniel H. Burnham and also serve as an executive producer. Seems like everybody and their brother wants to be an executive producer—the list includes Scorsese, DiCaprio, Rick Yorn, Jennifer Davisson, Stacey Sher, Sam Shaw, Lila Byock, Todd Field, and Mark Lafferty. Shaw is writing the script and will serve as showrunner, while Field will direct. You may know Shaw from his work on Castle Rock and Masters of Sex, while Field has written and directed plenty of projects, including Little Children and the upcoming TÁR.
When Will The Devil in the White City Come Out?
We’re going to have to wait quite awhile for this one: with production set to commence next year, we’re looking at a 2024 release date. By then, you’ll surely have time to read the book first.
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