DiCaprio to star in Devil in the White City

By Steven Pate in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 2, 2010 7:40PM

Since its publication in 2003, Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America may just win the prize as the book most often seen in the hands of CTA riders. Its the 1893 Chicago World's Fair setting, visionary Daniel Burnham, and a charming serial killer have proven an irresistible mix to more than just commuters, propelling the book from regional phenomenon to bestseller status.

And while we're kind of surprised that it has taken seven years to get movie version underway, Deadline Hollywood broke the story yesterday that Leonardo DiCaprio will produce and star in the adaptation. DiCaprio will play H.H. Holmes, the sociopathic doctor who constructed a "murder castle" near the fairgrounds, complete with dissecting table, a gas chamber and a crematorium, where he lured dozens (estimates run as high as 200) single women to their demise. We're not sure whether he's creepier better for the part than Tom Cruise (who was the first to attempt a production), but it's good news that there will finally be an adaptation.

There's no studio home and no financing, but the Inception star should certainly be counted on to change that in short order. Too bad the bid was not successful because this would have made a killer intro to the Olympics. At least it could still be an excuse to bring back the gondolas!