Leonardo DiCaprio and his production company have acquired the rights to Erik Larson’s 2003 book “The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic And Madness At The Fair That Changed America.” DiCaprio is set to star in the project as Dr. HH Holmes, billed as one of America’s first serial killers. Intrigued? There’s more after the jump.
Set in Chicago during the famous World’s Fair of 1883, the story will follow Holmes, a murdering sociopath who killed anywhere from 27-200 people during the fair. A charismatic doctor, Holmes lured young women into the World’s Fair Hotel and killed them in a variety of ways: in 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.”
Tom Cruise was once set to play this role when he optioned the property upon the book’s release in ’03, but the rights expired and were recently purchased by DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company. There hasn’t been a writer or director attached yet, but Appian Way has the wheels in motion to make this one of Leo’s next projects after his upcoming collaboration with director Clint Eastwood on Hoover, a biopic on the life of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.
According to the Amazon description of the book, Larson’s story also stems from the perspective of an architect responsible for setting up the World’s Fair, another character that could easily play a lead in this film version. Not only that, but there are appearances by Thomas Edison, Buffalo Bill Cody, and even Susan B. Anthony, so depending on the tone of the film those cameos could be interesting.
I’m stoked to see DiCaprio (my favorite working actor right now) take on a role so far removed from anything he’s ever done before, and I already can’t wait to see this movie. But what do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know.