The most lucrative director/actor partnership of the last decade plus has been Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese: Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island, and most recently, The Wolf of Wall Street. For what will be their sixth film together, Scorsese, DiCaprio, and Paramount Pictures have closed the deal on the rights to Erik Larson’s book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America.
Deadline reports that Billy Ray (The Hunger Games, Captain Phillips) will adapt the screenplay about Chicago’s most violent and notorious serial killer. Set in the late 19th Century at the Chicago World’s Fair, a fair worker named Dr. H. H. Holmes, who used the fair and his charm to lure anywhere between 27 and 200 people, mostly young women, back to his “murder castle”, complete with gas chambers, dissection tables, and a crematorium. Yikes. DiCaprio will play Holmes alongside a yet unidentified co-lead, Fair Architect Daniel Burnham.
Larson’s 2003 book is a non-fiction story based on actual events from 1893. Amidst the magic and celebrity of Thomas Edison, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Susan B. Anthony, Holmes was considered to be America’s answer to the British killer Jack the Ripper.
DiCaprio recently wrapped Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s follow-up to Birdman, The Revenant, and is currently working with Ray on his script for The Ballad of Richard Jewell, also starring DiCaprio’s Wolf of Wall Street co-star Jonah Hill.
Scorsese meanwhile is in the midst of post-production on his religious period drama Silence, starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, and Adam Driver.