It’s been a long time coming but the bidding war for the film rights to Erik Larson’s The Devil In The White City: Murder, Magic And Madness At The Fair That Changed America has finally ended with Paramount sealing the deal, besting Universal and Fox. Directing will be Martin Scorsese off of a script by Billy Ray. Leonardo DiCaprio, who has long championed the book and wanted to be a part of the film, will play the leading role Dr. H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who used the Chicago World Fair as a cover for his dastardly murders. Holmes is believed to have killed somewhere between 27-200 people.
Deadline delves deeper into Holmes’ depravity, stating:
Holmes constructed The World’s Fair Hotel, an inn more lethal than the Bates Motel, especially for young single women. The sociopath used charm and guile to lure guests into what became known as a “murder castle,” a haunt that had a gas chamber, crematorium and a dissecting table where Holmes would murder his victims and strip their skeletons to sell for medical and scientific study.
The Devil In The White City is one of my favorite books. Larson expertly tells the history of the creation of the Chicago World Fair and how Holmes used the mass confusion to build his death trap of a hotel. Larson writes this completely nonfiction book as though it were fiction, ultimately crafting a story that is delightfully engaging and a sheer pleasure to read. I honestly can’t recommend the book enough to anyone who hasn’t read it. It’s well worth every second of your time.
It’s too early for a release date or for any other casting announcements but, believe me, we’ll be keeping an eye on this one.