After a lengthy pre-production process that saw a revolving door of talent join and then exit the project, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Devil in the White City” series is no longer moving forward at Hulu, sources with knowledge of the situation have confirmed to IndieWire. The adaptation will be shopped to other outlets by ABC Signature, which is still committed to making the show.
The news is the latest in a long series of setbacks for “Devil in the White City,” which has bounced around Hollywood in various iterations for over a decade. Based on a book of the same name by Erik Larson, “Devil in the White City” is set against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and juxtaposes architect Daniel H. Burnham’s quest to put on a history-making event with the havoc that serial killer Dr. H. H. Holmes brought on the city.
DiCaprio first acquired the rights to the bestselling book in 2010, and planned to star as Burnham in a feature film with Scorsese directing. That film never materialized, and the project was eventually reworked as a limited series with both DiCaprio and Scorsese attached as executive producers. A variety of A-list talent flirted with the project at various stages, and it recently came very close to materializing at Hulu with Keanu Reeves playing Burnham and “TÁR” filmmaker Todd Field attached to direct the entire series. “Castle Rock” co-creator Sam Shaw was also on board as showrunner.
But Reeves quickly dropped out of the series, and Field left soon after. It appears that without that talent attached, Hulu also lost interest in making the series a reality.
Scorsese and DiCaprio’s search for a new network and platform will have to fit into the duo’s busy schedule. Their next film together, the Scorsese-helmed “Killers of the Flower Moon,” is expected to come out later this year. After that, they’re planning to re-team on the shipwreck survival story “The Wager,” which is based on a nonfiction book by “Killers of the Flower Moon” author David Grann. Both films will be produced and distributed by Apple.
Reporting by Brian Welk.