An adaption of the 2003 true crime thriller ‘The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America’ by Erik Larson has been in out of development limbo since the book’s publication. The project got some new life in 2019 when it was picked up by the streaming service Hulu for a TV production with ABC Signature. Keanu Reeves (John Wick) had been tapped to star.
It was reported that Reeves departed the project in October 2022 with the director Todd Fields leaving shortly thereafter. It has been confirmed that Hulu is following suit, choosing not to release the series.
“The devil was in the details, apparently: Hulu has decided not to move ahead with The Devil in the White City,” Deadline reports. “The long-gestating limited series was to tell the story of Daniel H. Burnham, a demanding but visionary architect who races to make his mark on history with the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and Dr. H. H. Holmes, America’s first modern serial killer and the man behind the notorious “Murder Castle” built in the fair’s shadow.”
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (Titantic) and director Martin Scorsese (The Departed) are attached to the project as executive producers.
DiCaprio purchases the film rights in 2010 and was originally set to write a script with screenwriter Billy Ray (Richard Jewell) with Scorsese directing before it was announced it would be developed into a television show.
ABC Signature is shopping it around for production on another streaming service or network.
The book was published by Crown Publishers and has since won several awards including the 2003, San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year, 2004 Edgar Award (Best Fact Crime), 2004 Book Sense Book of the Year Honor Book, and was included in the 2009 ALA Outstanding Books for the College Bound (History & Cultures).
GoodReads explains that, “Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book’s categorization to be sure that ‘The Devil in the White City’ is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel.”
They add, “Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair’s construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.”
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