After years in development, the adaptation of Eric Larson’s true crime title, The Devil in the White City (RH/Crown, 2003) is set to be directed by Martin Scorsese, with Leonardo DiCaprio starring as the serial killer H.H. Holmes who preyed on single young women drawn to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. This will be the actor and director’s sixth project together.
Paramount won the film rights in a major auction after Warner Bros. let the them lapse last month (DiCaprio bought the rights back in 2010, with plans to star in it. Before that, in 2003, Tom Cruise acquired the rights, also planning to star).
Those who have read the book will agree with Deadline‘s assessment it presents a screen writing challenge because it “interlac[es] the two main characters, the producer/architect of the World’s Fair and the man who works for him and turns out to be a mass murderer.” However, reports Deadline, the new script writer “[Billy] Ray cracked that, and the town flipped for it.” They don’t explain exactly what they flipped for, however.
Scorsese is currently wrapping production on Silence, based on the 1996 novel by Japanese writer Shûsaku Endô, expected to release some time next year.
As usual, the director has several other balls in the air. In June, another of his favorite actors, Al Pacino said he’s hoping they will work together on The Irishman, based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brand (Steerforth, 2005). Late last year, Mark Wahlberg was urging him to do a Boardwalk Empire movie. He has also announced plans direct Sinatra about the singer and to produce The Snowman based on the book by Jo Nesbø. It’s not known which project he will turn to first.
DiCaprio will next be seen in The Revenant, directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu and based on the book by Michael Punke, set for release in December.