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Leonardo DiCaprio To Play Serial Killer In 'The Devil In The White City'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 1, 2010 at 10:34AM

Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way shingle has teamed with Double Features and acquired the rights to Erik Larson's "The Devil In The White City," a fascinating, thrilling account of Dr. HH Holmes, a serial killer who murdered up to 200 people during the Chicago World's Fair.
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Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way shingle has teamed with Double Features and acquired the rights to Erik Larson's "The Devil In The White City," a fascinating, thrilling account of Dr. HH Holmes, a serial killer who murdered up to 200 people during the Chicago World's Fair.

If the material sounds familiar, that's because David Fincher was circling it a couple of years ago, and there's a good reason why. The book is crackerjack stuff, endlessly detailed and even more strange and scary because it's true. Holmes built The World's Fair Hotel, one of the many new hotels that cropped up in the rapid expansion of Chicago in the lead up to the fair. Inside, he had numerous hidden rooms including a gas chamber, crematorium and a dissecting table. Holmes would murder his victims and sell the body parts for profit and research. (And no, Sufjan Stevens didn't immortalize this particular event in song).

Sounds like it could make a great movie right? Tom Cruise thought so when he optioned the book back in 2003, but DiCaprio challenged him, mounting his own project based on a public domain documents but obviously as the years have gone by, the rights have moved on, and DiCaprio now has landed the book itself.

This one is a way off; a writer needs to be found and then the package will be shopped to various studios. And also bear in mind, this is one of about a half dozen or so projects DiCaprio is linked to right now, but this is certainly an exciting prospect and the kind of non-fiction written and built for the big screen. We hope it comes together. As for now, DiCaprio is busy workshopping "The Great Gatsby" with Baz Luhrmann who has decided to meet every young actress in Hollywood before deciding on who will play Daisy. [Deadline]

This article is related to: Films, Actors, The Devil In The White City