Saturday, December 17, 2011

Warner Bros. Acquires Film Adaptation of The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

A year or so ago we reported that Leonardo DiCaprio's production company had acquired the film rights to The Devil in the White City, the true story of a mass murderer, who killed scores of mostly young women around the time of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

Now we're learning that Warner Bros. has acquired the project and hired Graham Moore to write the adapted screenplay. DiCaprio is still expected to star as Henry H. Holmes, the serial killer.

Subtitled "Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America," the book tells the story of two men: Architect Daniel Hudson Burnham, the brilliant director of the World's Fair of 1893 in Chicago, the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C.; and Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his "World’s Fair Hotel" just west of the fairgrounds — a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths.

(Related article: Deadline.)


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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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