- Keanu Reeves was set to star in a historical crime TV series produced by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, but the project fell apart due to undisclosed reasons.
- The series, based on the book “The Devil in the White City,” would have featured Reeves as architect Daniel H. Burnham and DiCaprio as serial killer H.H. Holmes.
- Despite Hulu dropping out of the project, the production company is still shopping it to other distributors, but the future collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio seems unlikely.
Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio almost produced a historical crime epic with Keanu Reeves in the lead, but a troubled development stalled the project. It’s strange to think that Keanu Reeves has never collaborated with Martin Scorsese or Leonardo DiCaprio. Reeves has worked with some of the greatest living directors, even giving a controversial performance in Dracula, directed by Scorsese’s close personal friend, Francis Ford Coppola. What’s more, Reeves and DiCaprio were both 90s heartthrobs and may well have been offered some of the same roles.
In 2022, the collaboration was nearly at hand, with Reeves attached to star in a TV series developed by Scorsese and DiCaprio. The series marked Scorsese and DiCaprio’s third attempt to collaborate as television producers after TV adaptations of Shutter Island and Gangs of New York both failed to materialize (via THR). The lengthy and star-studded development history of Scorsese and DiCaprio’s project came close to production with Reeves before unnamed factors caused things to fall apart.
Keanu Reeves Almost Starred In The Devil In The White City (Which Scorsese & DiCaprio Were Involved With)
The Devil in the White City is a historical non-fiction novel telling the stories of Daniel H. Burnham, the architect behind the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and H.H. Holmes, the American serial killer who used the World’s Fair to lure victims into his elaborately constructed “Murder Castle.” Leonardo DiCaprio bought the rights to the book in 2010, with the intention of starring as H. H. Holmes (via Town and Country). In 2015, Martin Scorsese was brought on board to direct the project, with Captain Phillips screenwriter Billy Ray enlisted to write the script (via Variety).
In 2019, it was announced that The Devil in the White City was being developed as a TV series for Hulu. Scorsese and DiCaprio remained attached to the project as executive producers, with the show finally being ordered to series in 2022. Soon after, Keanu Reeves joined the series to play architect Daniel H. Burnham, with Tár director Todd Field attached to direct the first two episodes. Things fell apart in October 2022 when Keanu Reeves departed from The Devil in the White City, followed by Todd Field’s abrupt departure. Shortly after, Hulu dropped the project.
Why The Devil In The White City Adaptation Hasn’t Happened (Will It Ever)?
When DiCaprio initially bought the rights to The Devil in the White City, it was planned as a movie adaptation. Much of the delays in the decade that followed were likely due to the project being transformed from a movie into a TV adaptation, altering how to precisely get the story right in its new form. The big names linked to the adaptation also had other major projects in the works, with DiCaprio and Scorsese linked to Killers of the Flower Moon since 2017. Their focus may have shifted elsewhere to more established projects in the works as The Devil in the White City remained on the backburner as time went on.
The Devil in the White City’s production company, ABC Signature, has not confirmed the project to be officially dead. Following Hulu dropping out of the project in March 2023, ABC Signature announced that the series was being shopped around to other distributors. Jude Law and The Bear’s Jeremy Allen White were reported to be in talks to play H.H. Holmes and Reeves’ former role of Daniel H. Burnham. However, with no news of The Devil in the White City since, the hopeful next collaboration with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t seem likely.
Source: THR, Town and Country, Variety