Deadline reports Paramount has won an auction for the distribution rights to the screen adaptation of Erik Larson's bestselling novel The Devil In The White City: Murder, Magic And Madness At The Fair That Changed America. Martin Scorsese will direct with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star as one of Chicago's most infamous serial killers, Dr. H.H. Holmes.
This is a project years in the making, DiCaprio purchased the rights to the book in 2010 and has reportedly always wanted to play Holmes. The novel was published in 2003. DiCaprio's Appian Way will produce along with Warner Brothers. Billy Ray will write the screenplay.
The Devil In The White City is based on true events. Dr. H.H. Holmes was one of the first known serial killers. He built The World's Fair Hotel in 1893 Chicago when the city was in a fever pitch. The World's Fair was about to open and Holmes used his hotel to kill employees, patrons, and his own lovers. The place was dubbed "Murder Castle" and was equipped with gas chamber rooms, large furnaces, and an operating-type room where Holmes dissected bodies for sale to medical study. This movie will not be for the faint of heart. Think Gangs of New York or From Hell crossed with Psycho.