Last year it was announced that Leonardo DiCaprio’s production banner Appian Way had acquired the screen rights to Erik Larson’s 2003 non-fiction book ‘The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic And Madness At The Fair That Changed America.’ Along with producing DiCaprio was attached to star, taking the role of notorious serial killer Dr H.H. Holmes. Now, according to Deadline, Warner Bros. has bought the rights from Appian Way, with DiCaprio still attached to star.
The book follows the story of Holmes, America’s first documented serial Killer. A cunning charmer, Holmes preyed on anywhere from 27 to 200 people at a time when the city of Chicago was enthralled with hosting the World’s Fair of 1893.
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.
Warner Bros. has tapped Blacklist screenwriter Graham Moore (‘The Imitation Game’) to script the adaptation. The scribe told Deadline, “[I’ve been] obsessed with Devil in the White City for a decade. My high school was 50 yard away from where the Chicago World’s Fair was held, and I played soccer on a field near where Holmes murdered about 200 people. It was a truly horrible crime, but it’s a very Chicago story. Though I moved to LA, I think of myself as fundamentally Mid-Western, and in a weird way, this is a dark and twisted tribute to my hometown.”