The Devil in the White City

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The Devil in the White City
Cover of The Devil in the White City
AuthorErik Larson
CountryUnited States
GenreHistorical non-fiction
PublisherCrown Publishers
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback)

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America (Crown Publishers, ISBN 0-609-60844-4) is a 2003 historical non-fiction book by Erik Larson presented in a novelistic style. It tells the story of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago from the viewpoint of the designers, including Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted, and also tells the story of H. H. Holmes, a criminal figure in that same time often considered by historians as the first modern serial killer.[1]

Leonardo DiCaprio purchased the film rights in 2010.[2]


External media
Erik Larson 03B.jpgAuthor Erik Larson
audio icon "The Devil in the White City", Weekend Edition, National Public Radio, Larson interviewed by Scott Simon, 10:01, April 5, 2003
video icon "The Devil in the White City", Booknotes, C-SPAN, 58:00, September 14, 2003.

The Devil in the White City is divided into four parts, the first three happening in Chicago between 1890 and 1893, while part four of the book takes place in Philadelphia circa 1895. The book interweaves the true tales of Daniel Burnham, the architect behind the 1893 World's Fair, and H. H. Holmes, a serial killer who lured his victims to their deaths in his elaborately constructed "Murder Castle".


Leonardo DiCaprio purchased the film rights to the book in 2010. The film version, as originally planned, would have been directed by Martin Scorsese, written by Billy Ray, and produced jointly by Paramount Pictures, Double Feature Films, and DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions.[3][4][5]

In 2019, Hulu began developing a series based on the book. Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese are designated as the executive producers of the project along with Stacey Sher.[6][7] It was announced in January 2022, that actor Keanu Reeves was in negotiations to star in series and Todd Field would direct the first two episodes.[8] Production and filming are expected to begin March 2023 in Chicago and Toronto, with the series expected to launch in 2024.[9]



  1. ^ Magazine, Smithsonian; Solly, Meilan. "The Enduring Mystery of H.H. Holmes, America's 'First' Serial Killer". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2022-08-31.
  2. ^ "Leonardo DiCaprio secures rights to book of first serial killer in the US", The Guardian newspaper (November 2, 2010). Accessed Nov. 2, 2010.
  3. ^ "Leonardo DiCaprio Teams With Martin Scorsese for 'Devil in the White City'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
  4. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (December 16, 2011). "Warner Bros Sets Black List Top Scribe Graham Moore For 'Devil In The White City'; Leonardo DiCaprio To Play Serial Killer". Deadline Hollywood.
  5. ^ McNary, Dave (August 10, 2015). "Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese Reunite for 'Devil in the White City'". Variety. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  6. ^ "Keanu Reeves reportedly in talks to star in Hulu's adaptation of 'The Devil in the White City'". Web News Observer. 2022-01-10. Retrieved 2022-01-09.
  7. ^ Otterson, Joe (February 11, 2019). "'Devil in the White City' Series in the Works at Hulu from Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese." Variety. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  8. ^ Epting, Claire (January 4, 2022). "Keanu Reeves to Star In Scorsese Produced 'Devil in the White City' Series". Screen Crush.
  9. ^ "The Devil in the White City sets spring production date in Chicago". | Reel Chicago - At the intersection of Chicago Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. 2022-08-29. Retrieved 2022-08-31.

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