Leonardo DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Killoran and Double Features partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher have acquired screen rights to "The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic And Madness At The Fair That Changed America," the 2003 non-fiction book by Erik Larson. For the project, DiCaprio will play Dr. HH Holmes, a serial killer Deadline calls "the 19th Century equivalent of Hannibal Lecter."
Holmes is believed to have murdered anywhere from 27 to 200 people at a time when the city of Chicago was enthralled with hosting the World's Fair of 1893.
Per Deadline, DiCaprio has long been interested in the notorious killer. Back in 2003, when Tom Cruise optioned the Larson book with the intention to play the killer (with Kathryn Bigelow and Christopher Kyle coming aboard to direct and write), DiCaprio set up a rival project. When the book rights came available again, Appian Way and Double Features acquired it from Paradigm on behalf of lit agency Black Inc.
Says the Heat Vision blog, the plan now is to find a writer or a writer-director to help nail down the vast story, then move to setting it up.
The project's not set up at a studio, notes Variety. Appian Way has a first look deal at Warner Bros.
Source: Hollywood Wiretap