They’re just two films away from breaking DeNiro’s heart.
Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are developing an adaptation of Erik Larson’s historical crime book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America.
The Devil In The White City tells the true story of Dr. HH Holmes, a serial killer who constructed a hotel at Chicago’s World Fair of 1893 and used it to attract and kill guests. To quote Deadline, “The sociopath used charm and guile to lure guests into what became known as a “murder castle,” a haunt that had a gas chamber, crematorium and a dissecting table where Holmes would murder his victims and strip their skeletons to sell for medical and scientific study.” Intertwined with the story of Holmes is that of the World Fair’s architect, Daniel H. Burnham. DiCaprio will play Dr. Holmes; it is not yet known who will play Burnham.
I can see both Scorsese and DiCaprio tackling this project with glee. DiCaprio brought a great sense of not only madcap rage but also dark humour to his portrayal of Southern slave-owner Calvin Candie in Tarantino’s Django Unchained. It’ll be refreshing to see him bring some of the same manic tendencies to this role. As for Scorsese, for all its flaws Shutter Island is still leagues better than most contemporary psychological thrillers, and proved that he remains the master, no matter the genre. He’s no stranger to serial killer films, either: his remake of 1962’s Cape Fear was pretty well received. But the story of Devil in the White City is absurd (and unfortunately true) enough to get me interested in Scorsese’s take on it. Erik Larson is killer (
no pun intended) at writing historical non-fiction so good, it reads like fiction. Especially with its parallel storylines and period crime setting, it’ll be interesting to see how Scorsese decides to tell this story.
If he ever actually gets around to it, that is. Let’s not jump ahead of ourselves here: there’s no official release year, let alone a production start date. Multiple films have surfaced over the past years with Scorsese’s name attached to them. First and foremost, there are the projects which are actually confirmed/releasing soon: he’s currently in post-production on next year’s Silence, starring Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver. Then there’s Terrence Winter’s HBO show, Vinyl (starring Ray Romano!?), for which Scorsese directed the pilot and serves as executive producer. On top of all this, Scorsese’s reportedly been attached to a Sinatra biopic, a Mike Tyson biopic, a film about the Ramones, a Shutter Island TV series, a documentary on Bill Clinton, a Grateful Dead documentary, and last but certainly not least, the long gestating project The Irishman, starring Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, and Joe Pesci.
While I will always root for The Irishman to be confirmed as his next project, any news of a new Scorsese project is good news to me.