After over a decade in development, it looked like Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese’s long-gestating television adaptation of Erik Larson’s “The Devil in the White City” was finally starting to take shape. The series, which had been in the works at Hulu since 2019, announced that Keanu Reeves was set to play legendary Chicago World’s Fair architect Daniel H. Burnham, with “TÁR” director Todd Field executive producing and directing all episodes.
But the project soon started falling apart, with Reeves exiting the series last week. Now, the project has been hit with another creative blow, as Variety first reported that Field has now dropped out as well. It would have marked the continuation of a triumphant comeback for Field, who has been receiving glowing reviews on the festival circuit for “TÁR,” his first feature film since 2006’s “Little Children.”
Hulu representatives confirmed to IndieWire that Todd Field will no longer direct the series, while declining to comment further. Field’s reps could not immediately be reached for comment.
It appears that the loss of Reeves and Field was not enough to kill the project, as the Variety report indicates that producers are now searching for a new director to helm the series. And this is far from the first setback that the project has faced. When DiCaprio first acquired the rights to Larson’s book — about serial killer H.H. Holmes’ murder spree against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair — in 2010, he envisioned it as a feature film. At one point, he was set to star with Martin Scorsese directing, though they both ultimately stepped away while remaining attached as executive producers.
The official logline for “Devil in the White City” describes the show as telling “the true story of Daniel H. Burnham, 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.”
The show is far from the only upcoming project that Scorsese and DiCaprio have in the works. The frequent collaborators are reteaming on two adaptations of nonfiction books by David Grann: “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which is set to hit theaters next year; and “The Wager,” a shipwreck drama that is currently in development.
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