The project, which has been in the works for more than a decade, reunites DiCaprio with Scorsese two years after “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Paramount won an auction to buy the movie rights to Erik Larson’s book “The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America.” The studio has previously owned the rights twice.
Billy Ray, whose credits include “Captain Phillips” and “The Hunger Games,” will write the script. Producers are DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson along with Stacey Sher, Scorsese, Rick Yorn and Emma Koskoff.
DiCaprio first joined the project in 2010.
DiCaprio will play H.H. Holmes, who murdered between 27 and 200 people, mostly single young women. Set against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, “The Devil in the White City” tells the intertwining stories of fair architect Daniel H. Burnham and Holmes, who used a hotel he built near the fairgrounds to lure his victims.
“The Devil in the White City” was first put in development in Hollywood by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner through their Cruise/Wagner banner via the shingle’s deal with Par, but the option lapsed in 2004. Paramount reacquired the film rights in 2007 and set it up with producers Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher, whose shingle Double Feature Films had a first-look deal with the studio at that point.
Besides “The Wolf of Wall Street,” DiCaprio and Scorsese have made “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator,” “The Departed” and “Shutter Island” together.
DiCaprio is repped by LBI, which also reps Scorsese. WME also reps Scorsese CAA and attorney Peter Nichols rep Ray. Larson is repped by APA and David Black Literary Agency.
Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.