There will be no devils in any cities—on Hulu at least.  Per Variety, Hulu’s adaptation of The Devil in the White City starring Keanu Reeves and directed by Tár‘s Todd Field is no longer moving forward at the streamer. 

Based on the historical non-fiction book of the same name by Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City began development at Hulu in 2019 and was ordered ordered to series by the streamer in August 2022. Both Reeves and Field were attached to the project when it was picked up, but exited the project in October of last year. According to Variety, Reeves signed onto the show in part because he wanted to work with the Oscar-nominated director; reportedly, Reeves left the series once Field did.

Per its logline, The Devil in the White City “tells 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.” Reeves was tapped to play Burnham in his first major television role. No official casting for Holmes had been confirmed. 

Hulu abandoning the series is another hiccup in a long and bumpy road for Larson’s 2003 bestseller, which has been mired in adaptation drama for decades. The Devil in the White City first started bubbling up in Hollywood when Tom Cruise and producer Paula Wagner attempted to develop it under their banner Cruise/Wagner Productions, but their option lapsed in 2004. In 2007, Paramount acquired the rights to the story and attached producers Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher. In 2010, Leonardo DiCaprio and his production company Appian Way acquired the rights to the book and planned to adapt it into a film in which he’d star as Holmes. Martin Scorsese was tapped to direct in 2015, based on a script by Oscar-nominated Nicole Kidman AMC ad writer Billy Ray. 

In the most recent iteration of the adaptation, Scorsese, DiCaprio, Rick Yorn, and Jennifer Davisson of Appian Way were attached as executive producers as well as Sher, Sam Shaw and Mark Lafferty. Shaw was to adapt the book for Hulu and serve as showrunner and executive producer on the series, alongside Lila Byock, who also would executive produce. But while the series is a no go on Hulu, Variety reports that the series is being shopped to other homes—so this may not be the end of the road for Burnham and Holmes. 


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