Devil in the White City: Keanu Reeves takes over as director of Scorsese TV series

Scorsese and DiCaprio spent 12 years trying to develop an adaptation of Erik Larson’s book.

Updated October 7th: Keanu Reeves will not direct the upcoming Hulu series Devil in the White City.

The ‘John Wick’ actor was cast as Daniel H. Burnham, a sophisticated but visionary architect attempting to make history with the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The series was intended to parallel Burnham’s career with Dr. Pursue HH Holmes, America’s first modern day serial killer and the man behind the infamous “Murder Castle” built in the shadow of the Fairgrounds.

Variety first reported that Reeves was no longer affiliated with the Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio-backed production. IndieWire has reached out to Reeves officials for comment.

Published on August 4th: It’s been a long road through Hollywood’s development process, but Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s long-seasoned adaptation of Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City is closer than ever to realizing it. Hulu is officially moving forward with a television series based on the bestseller, with Keanu Reeves on board to star and Scorsese and DiCaprio serving as executive producers. Castle Rock co-creator Sam Shaw will serve as showrunner, while Todd Field will direct the series.

Hulu announced the news Thursday as part of the Television Critics Association’s summer tour.

In the series, Reeves plays Daniel H. Burnham, the legendary architect who was the driving force behind the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The story follows Burnham and his determination to build a perfect exhibition while Dr. HH Holmes, the world’s first modern serial killer, wreaks havoc in the city of Chicago. No casting for Holmes has been announced yet.

When DiCaprio first acquired the rights to The Devil in the White City in 2010, he originally envisioned the project as a feature film. The actor planned to play Burnham himself, with frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese on board to direct the film. However, scheduling conflicts and development difficulties eventually delayed the project long enough for it to be recast as a television series. Hulu has been developing the show since 2019.

Devil in the White City is the latest addition to a massive dance map for Reeves, Scorsese and DiCaprio. Reeves has John Wick: Chapter 4 in theaters next year and John Wick: Chapter 5 is in pre-production. He’s also turning his BRZRKR comic book into both a live-action film (in which he’ll be starring) and an anime series on Netflix. Scorsese and DiCaprio are gearing up for the 2023 release of Killers of the Flower Moon and are already working on their next collaboration for Apple, The Wager. This film, also based on a book by David Grann, tells the dark story of a shipwreck in 1742. Scorsese is also set to direct Jonah Hill in an upcoming Jerry Garcia biopic for Apple.

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Lindsay Lowe

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