An adaptation of Devil in the White City by Erik Larson has been officially ordered to series at Hulu, with Keanu Reeves set to star in one of the lead roles. The book that the series is based on tells the true story of Dr. H. H. Holmes, America’s first modern serial killer, who built a “Murder Castle” in the shadow of Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair. The news comes courtesy of Hulu meeting virtually with reporters for its portion of the TV Critics Association press tour.
Reeves, who will also serve as an executive producer on the show, will not be playing Holmes, for those who might have wanted to see him do something in the vein of The Watcher again. Instead, according to Variety, Reeves will be playing Daniel H. Burnham, “a demanding but visionary architect who races to make his mark on history” while designing the World’s Columbian Exposition, which was nicknamed “White City.”
MOVIEWEB VIDEO OF THE DAY
Devil in the White City will mark Reeves’s first major American television role. Early in his career, he appeared in a couple of tv roles, such as in the shows Hangin’ In and Night Heat. He also appeared in the Swedish-American web series Swedish Dicks, which also featured Peter Stormare, Johan Glans, and Traci Lords. Primarily he’s always been known for his work in films such as Bill & Ted, The Matrix, and John Wick.
Transforming the Book into a Film, Then TV Series
The development of an adaption of Larson’s book has been going on for more than a decade and has gone through multiple different forms. It was first put into development in Hollywood by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner through their Cruise/Wagner banner. However, the shingle’s deal with Paramount lapsed in 2004.
Later, Paramount would reacquire the rights in 2007 and set it up with producers Michael Chamber and Stacey Sher. In 2010, Leonardo DiCaprio acquired the rights in a plan to adapt the book to film, where he would star as Holmes. In 2015, Martin Scorses signed on to direct, with Billy Ray set to write the script. Then, back in 2019, Hulu announced that they were developing the book as a series.
Scorsese, DiCaprio, and Sher will still be involved in the new July series as executive producers, alongside Reeves, Rick Yorn, Jennifer Davisson of Appian Way, Sam Shaw, and Mark Lafferty. Sam Shaw is adapting the book and will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Todd Field has been tapped to direct and as yet another executive producer. Paramount Television Studios will produce the show in association with ABC Signature.
No release date for Devil in the White City has been announced yet. Nor has the actor playing Holmes been identified yet. Reeves’s next film will be John Wick: Chapter 4, scheduled for release on March 24, 2023. DiCaprio and Scorses’s long-awaited Killers of the Flower Moon will release at next year’s Cannes. They’ve also recently started work on an adaptation of the non-fiction book The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder by David Grann.