Paramount Studios has just acquired the rights to The Devil In The White City: Murder, Magic And Madness at the Fair That Changed America written by Erik Larson.
The film and television production company was one of five studios in an aggressive bidding war to acquire the New York Times bestseller, but ultimately Paramount Studios won.
The film will star Leonardo DiCaprio. Martin Scorsese will direct the film and Billy Ray will pen the script. DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson are producing along with Stacey Sher, Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Deadline reports.
DiCaprio will play Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor and Chicago’s most infamous serial killer of the 19th century. In November 2010, DiCaprio acquired the rights to make a feature film based on the book, and has been wanting to play the role of the killer Dr. H. H. Holmes for quite some time now.
The film marks the sixth time Scorsese and DiCaprio will work together. The Hollywood A-listers worked together on Gangs Of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island and The Wolf Of Wall Street.
Larson received high praise for the page-turner. Published in 2004 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, the book eloquently describes what life was like in the “Windy City” during that time and follows the architect who led the construction of the great Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, as well as the prolific serial killer who used the fair as a lure. Just a short distance from the fairgrounds, Dr. H. H. Holmes built a hotel of horrors equipped with an acid vat, dissection table and crematorium. The book won an Edgar Award for best fact-crime writing, and was a finalist for a National Book Award.
Dr. H. H. Holmes spent much of 1893 torturing and killing a slew of people. While he only admitted to killing 27 people, authorities believe the body count might be dozens more. The hotel became known as the “Murder Castle.”
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