In a recent announcement posted by Variety, it appears Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, and Paramount Studios have obtained a new distribution partner, Hulu, to assist them with the decade long “in limbo” adaptation of Erik Larson’s bestseller non-fiction book The Devil in the White City. Originally intended years ago to be a straightforward movie adaptation will now be re-worked as an episodic series; although, it is unclear at the present moment how many episodes will be produced.
The book is about Chicago’s most notorious serial killer: Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, or commonly referred to as H.H. Holmes. The exact number of his victims is unknown, but his methodology of drawing people away from the 1893 World’s Fair, only to kill them in his apartment style hotel in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. The property was later nicknamed as the Murder Castle. [Source: History.com]
According to Variety, the studio had won, lost, and regained the movie rights for the book several times over the years, which includes the current ownership of the rights they won in a 2007 auction. DiCaprio partnered with the studio in 2010 to serve as an executive producer and lead actor for a movie adaption.
In 2015, Martin Scorsese joined the pair to serve as it’s director with the (now dated) plan to turn the book into a movie; then the pre-production of the project stalled for the next four years. Both men will remain on board to serve as the executive producers, but may no longer serve as the leading actor and director.
This would not be the first, nor last, attempt to bring the story of H.H. Holmes to the movies or television screens. Television network Investigation Discovery aired a three episode mini-series in 2017, which was considered by many viewers as a very shallow retelling of the infamy.
FX Network offered a scarier interpretation of the story in 2016 when they aired American Horror Story: Hotel, which took many creative liberties with more of an “inspired by” approach of H.H. Holmes and his hotel rather than a literal retelling of the story.