This is some goddamned great news: Paramount will produce an adapation of the historical true crime book The Devil in the White City with Martin Scorsese directing from a Billy Ray script, and Leonardo DiCaprio will star as HH Holmes, considered America's first serial killer. Yes, Scorsese is making a serial killer movie.
The story of HH Holmes, as presented in the book by Erik Larson, is fascinating. He was operating in the shadows of Chicago while the 1893 World's Fair was happening; Larson examines the World's Fair as a projection of the future and Holmes as the reality of it - he had a true house of horrors, including a gas chamber, a crematorium and a dissection room. Holmes has been confirmed to have claimed 9 victims, but some estimates place his actual total at almost 200.
Larson's book is interesting - like Scorsese, I find the late 19th century in America to be an irresistable time period - but for me non-dramatic. It's a book that has always been crying out for a movie adaptation to juice the story a bit, to bring the World's Fair and Holmes sections together in ways that reality never quite did. I imagine the film will take terrific liberties with history, and I'm okay with that - especially with Billy Ray, a great thriller writer, taking the liberties.
This is a movie that has been trying to get made for some time and Paramount, who recently decided to actually release some movies instead of just sort of throwing out three or four films a year, has put a lot of money behind it before any real work has even begun. That means we should expect a major push, with an awards season release and the whole magila. DiCaprio will be playing a complete and total sociopath (and wearing a big dumb handlebar mustache), which is the sort of risk-taking that could finally earn him that Oscar he's wanted for so long.
Scorsese has Silence coming next, but that's finished shooting. It's not clear when The Devil in the White City will go, but I would say we get it in 2017 or so.