It’s official: Hulu is moving forward with a TV adaptation of Erik Larson’s best-seller Devil in the White City with Keanu Reeves set to star in what will be his largest TV role to date.
The drama, which has been developed as a film and TV series since Leonardo DiCaprio optioned the property in 2010, has scored a formal series order at the Disney-backed streamer. The news was announced Thursday as part of Hulu’s virtual time before press at the Television Critics Association’s summer tour.
Sam Shaw (Hulu’s Castle Rock) is on board as writer, showrunner and exec producer. DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner, Jennifer Davisson, will exec produce alongside Martin Scorsese. The latter was previously set to direct the feature film take that had been set up at Paramount Pictures with DiCaprio formerly set to star. The Matrix favorite Reeves — following months of deal-making — will star and exec produce the series that landed at Hulu for development in 2019. Todd Field is on board now to direct the series, which is now a co-production between Paramount Television Studios and Disney’s ABC Signature. Paramount Pictures won the rights to the novel following a massive bidding war in 2015, when Billy Ray was on board to pen the scripts.
Based on Larson’s novel, Devil revolves around Daniel H. Burnham (Reeves), a demanding but visionary architect who races to make his mark on history with the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and Dr. H. H. Holmes, America’s first modern serial killer and the man behind the notorious “Murder Castle” built in the fair’s shadow. (DiCaprio is not expected to have an on-screen role as of press time.)
Rick Yorn, Stacey Sher, Field and Mark Lafferty also exec produce the series. A formal episode count has not yet been determined. Scorsese and DiCaprio have previously teamed for features Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island and The Wolf of Wall Street. The frequent collaborators had previously developed TV takes on Gangs of New York and Shutter Island, though neither moved beyond the script stage. DiCaprio currently has a film and TV deal at Apple. DiCaprio exec produces the Apple series Shining Girls and previously did the $200 million feature Killers of the Flower Moon for the streamer.
Field is repped by CAA, LBI Entertainment and Goodman Genow. Shaw is with CAA and Jackoway Tyerman. Reeves is with WME and Sugar23. Lafferty is with CAA and Yorn Levine.