It’s pretty hard to believe what a small amount of attention has been given to H.H. Holmes, the first real serial killer in America, but it looks like that’s about to change with the news that Leonardo DiCaprio has signed to star as Holmes in a new film being developed by his Appian Way Productions with Double Feature Films.
Per Variety DiCaprio will play Holmes as described in Erik Larson’s nonfiction book The Devil in the White City. Holmes murdered somewhere between 27 and 200 people, mostly single young women. The Devil in the White City, which has sold 2.3 million copies and been translated into 17 languages, is set against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair [and] tells the intertwining stories of Fair architect Daniel H. Burnham and Holmes, who used a hotel he built near the fairgrounds to lure his victims.
The Devil in the White City was first put in development in Hollywood by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner through their Cruise/Wagner banner through the shingle’s deal with Paramount, but the option lapsed in 2004. Paramount reacquired the film rights in 2007 and set it up with producers Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher, whose shingle Double Feature Films had a first-look deal with the studio at that point.
There’s no studio involvement yet, but Appian Way, headed by DiCaprio and Jennifer Killoran, has a first look deal at Warner Bros.
Keep it here for more as it comes, and if the Holmes story is new to you, we recommend John Borowski’s documentary H. H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer (review here) while we wait for DiCaprio’s version.
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