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In the realm of non-fiction literature, Erik Larsen’s book The Devil in the White City has enjoyed popularity for nearly 20 years, telling the stories of both architect Daniel Burnham and serial killer H.H. Holmes during the first half of the 1890s For a long time, Leonardo DiCaprio intended to star in a film adaptation of The Devil in the White City that would have been directed by frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese and written by Billy Ray. While that movie never ended up happening, the streaming adaptation that emerged from the ashes has taken a big step forward with Keanu Reeves taking on the mantle.
Back in 2019, Hulu started developing a series take on The Devil in the White City, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese attached as executive producers. Cut to today, it was announced at during Hulu’s virtual time before the press period at the Television Critics Association’s summer tour that the streaming service has officially ordered The Devil in the White City, and Keanu Reeves will both executive produce it and star as Daniel Burnham. Reeves’ past major TV outings include vocally reprising Ted Logan in the animated series Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures, as well as starring in the short-lived comedy series Swedish Dicks.
For those who are unfamiliar with the real-life events explored in The Devil in the White City, Daniel Burnham was the architect in charge of putting together the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. While he was racing to leave his mark on history, H.H. Holmes was doing that in a much different way by killing people and constructing the hotel later dubbed by the press as his “Murder Castle,” which was located near where the World’s Fair would eventually be set up. At this time, it hasn’t been announced who will be playing Holmes in the series Hulu subscribers will eventually be able to check out, although THR did mention that at the time of publication, Leonardo DiCaprio isn’t expected to have an onscreen role.
While The Devil in the White City marks Keanu Reeves’ biggest TV/streaming project yet, the man certainly isn’t lacking for coverage in the cinematic realm these days. Along with reprising Neo last year in The Matrix Resurrections, Reeves has been keeping busy for nearly a decade leading the John Wick franchise, and he’ll be back as the title assassin for next year’s John Wick: Chapter 4, which dropped its first trailer last month. Reeves’ other notable film credits from recent years include Always Be My Maybe, Toy Story 4, Bill & Ted Face the Music and DC League of Super-Pets, with the actor voicing Batman in the latter animated feature.
Along with Keanu Reeves’ involvement in The Devil in the White City being shared with the public, it was also announced that Castle Rock’s Sam Shaw will write, showrun and executive produce this fellow Hulu series. Todd Field will direct the series, and Jennifer Davisson, Leonardo DiCaprio’s partner at Appian Way, is also attached as an executive producer, as are Rick Yorn, Stacey Sher, Field and Mark Lafferty. There’s no word yet on how many episodes will comprise the series.
Needless to say we’ll keep you apprised on The Devil in the White City’s progress, including when we get our first look at Keanu Reeves as Daniel Burnham. Until then, look through the Hulu shows and Hulu movies that are available to watch now.