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Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese’s Devil in the White City project is going from a film to a TV series.
Hulu and Paramount Television are developing a small-screen adaptation of Erik Larson’s New York Times best-selling nonfiction thriller. The news was announced onstage Monday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour.
The Devil in the White City tells the chilling true story of two men, an architect and a serial killer, whose fates were forever linked by the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. Each embodied American ingenuity at the dawn of the 20th century: Daniel H. Burnham, a brilliant and fastidious architect racing to make his mark on the world, and Henry H. Holmes, a handsome and cunning doctor who fashioned his own pharmaceutical “Murder Castle” on fair grounds — a palace built to seduce, torture and mutilate young women.
The project has been in development at various studios since 2003. It was previously at Warner Bros., before moving to Paramount — but the studio let the rights lapse in 2004 and again in 2007, as the period setting posed budgetary challenges. At one point, Tom Cruise was set to star in and produce an adaptation, and later Kathryn Bigelow was attached to direct and produce. It wasn’t until 2010 that DiCaprio, said to be long fascinated by the dark subject matter, nabbed the rights himself.
Few details about the TV series — including whether or not DiCaprio will take an onscreen role as initially planned in the movie version — are known at this time. In addition to Scorsese and DiCaprio, executive producers will include Stacey Sher, Rick Yorn, Emma Koskoff and Jennifer Davisson.