Hulu‘s adaptation of The Devil in the White City has been dealt a further blow. Director and executive producer Todd Field has departed the project, and a search for a new director is already underway, according to a report by Variety. It’s the second loss the project has suffered in the last seven days. News broke on October 7 that star Keanu Reeves had departed the project having been slated to play one of the two lead characters in the series, Daniel H. Burnham.
The official synopsis for The Devil in the White City states that the show “tells the true story of Daniel H. Burnham, a demanding but visionary architect who races to make his mark on history with the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and Dr. H. H. Holmes, America’s first modern serial killer and the man behind the notorious ‘Murder Castle’ built in the Fair’s shadow.” The series is based on the book originally authored by Erik Larson. The show has been in development since 2019, before Hulu officially ordered it to series in 2022. Production is still scheduled to begin in the summer of 2023, but is now without either its lead or its director.
Field recently wrote and directed the feature TÁR starring Cate Blanchett. That film debuted to rave reviews at the 2022 Venice International Film Festival. Collider‘s Brian Formo labeled Blanchett‘s performance as “one of her all-time best performances”, “astounding” and “a master class of acting”.
Martin Scorsese, Rick Yorn, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson of Appian Way are serving as executive producers on the series, alongside Stacey Sher, Sam Shaw and Mark Lafferty. Shaw is adapting the book for the screen while also serving as showrunner, and it will be produced by ABC Signature in association with Paramount Television Studios.
DiCaprio first acquired the rights to the book in 2010 and had originally planned to adapt it into a feature film, in which he would star as Holmes. Scorsese boarded the project as director in 2015 alongside Billy Ray, who had signed on to write the movie. It was originally put into Hollywood development by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner via the Cruise/Wagner production company and their deal with Paramount, but the option was allowed to lapse in 2004 before Paramount reacquired the film rights in 2007.
Be sure to check back with Collider for any future updates on the production of The Devil in the White City as it aims for that 2023 release date.