A trip to the fair could be in store for Keanu Reeves, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, as The Matrix Resurrections actor is in talks to star in the Hulu series The Devil in the White City that DiCaprio and Scorsese are producing. Deadline was the first to report that Reeves is in negotiations for the show.
The Devil in the White City is based on a non-fiction 2003 book of the same name by Erik Larson that tells the story of the 1893 Chicago’s World Fair, particularly how two men impacted it — the fair’s architect and planner Daniel H. Burnham and Henry H. Holmes, a doctor who used his hotel near the fair as a location to seduce, torture and murder a number of women. Using these two men as framing devices, the book explores how the Chicago’s World Fair was a changing point in history. Burnham’s fair featured new technologies like the light bulb and the Ferris Wheel as well as different world cultures, while Holmes’ actions previewed some of the dangers of this new world. The Devil in the White City was a bestseller and National Book Award finalist (I can personally attest that it is a fun and fascinating read).
It is not known at this time who Reeves would be playing should he officially sign on for the show, though we can guess that it would be either Burnham or Holmes. Either way, The Devil in the White City would mark his most high-profile TV role (he had some single episode appearances on a variety of shows early in his career, voiced Ted Logan in an animated Bill & Ted spinoff and had a supporting turn in a short-lived Pop comedy series, Swedish Dicks).
Leonardo DiCaprio has been trying to develop The Devil in the White City for a number of years, having acquired the rights to the book in 2010 with the intention of making it into a movie that Martin Scorsese would direct. However, in 2019 it was announced that they were switching it to a TV series on Hulu, with DiCaprio and Scorsese executive producing and Todd Field (Little Children, In the Bedroom) directing the first two episodes, featuring scripts from Sam Shaw (Castle Rock, Manhattan). It is unclear if DiCaprio is also planning on taking on a role in the series.
DiCaprio and Scorsese have worked together multiple times before, memorably in films like The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island and The Wolf of Wall Street. They also have the upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon expected to be released in 2022. This would be their first TV project together, though Scorsese is no stranger to producing big TV shows, having helped with HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Vinyl, to name a few.
When The Devil in the White City may come to be is still TBD, but fans of Keanu Reeves can see him right now in The Matrix Resurrections, playing in theaters and on HBO Max (for the next couple of weeks at least). He’ll also voice a character in 2022’s animated movie DC League of Super-Pets and has the next chapter of John Wick coming in 2023.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.