A screenplay is being written for a film adaptation of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, and it has been confirmed that Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese will team up once again for the project. The film will depict the infamous Dr. H. H. Holmes, a serial killer in the late 1800s who terrorized and executed his victims in a "Murder House" of his own design. DiCaprio purchased film rights to the novel back in 2010 and Martin Scorsese has signed on to direct, leaving fans wondering what delightfully twisted film will come as a result.
Scorsese and DeNiro haven't worked together on a project since Wolf of Wall Street back in 2013, but the pair have become an iconic duo for creating beloved films such as Shutter Island, The Departed, Gangs of New York, and a handful of other critically acclaimed titles. Several recurring elements pop up in most of their projects, and we can expect their newest film to be no exception. Here are some pretty safe predictions for what we'll find in #TheDevilintheWhiteCity.
Fans of Scorsese will be familiar with his playful attitude towards the crime genre. Ever since Taxi Driver back in 1976, Scorsese has been known for glorifying his criminals, celebrating their achievements and laughing in the face of their despicable deeds. We can expect The Devil in the White City to be no exception. Scorsese has always been fascinated with how criminals live their lives, playing by a different set of rules, making this another perfect story for Scorsese to tackle.
H. H. Holmes, the presumed central figure of the film, is a ruthless killer with an assumed body count in the hundreds. However, we can expect #Scorsese (with the help of Leo, of course) to try and humanize him and get the audience on his side. Or if he is presented as the film's antagonist, we can still expect Scorsese to revel in his actions like a glorified sort of antihero. No matter what deplorable acts we see presented in the film, we can expect Holmes to be put up on a cinematic pedestal.
Lots and Lots of Leo
While Leo is expected to portray Holmes himself, the source material for the film actually balances the story of Holmes with the life of Daniel Burnham, the chief architect at the 1893 World's Fair. Whichever part DiCaprio ends up portraying, however, we can expect to see him front and center with the script written around his talents. Leo has shown in the past that he can play both heroes and villains, so either type of performance wouldn't be a surprise at this point.
If there's one thing we know about Scorsese, it's his predictable way of shooting a film. In #WolfofWallStreet, we hardly get a break from seeing Leo's shining face on the screen. Scorsese employs voice-over narration, tracking shots, and freeze frames constantly to keep his protagonist at the center of the story, often serving as a guide to coast the viewer through the narrative. It's a pretty safe bet to assume that Leo will do the same for The Devil in the White City.
Many of Scorsese's hallmarks are noticeable in the iconic opening to Goodfellas:
Style and Charisma
While The Devil in the White City may seem like a dark, horrifying tale, we can trust that Scorsese will twist the narrative in some way to bring out the charm. Just as he did with Goodfellas, Wolf of Wall Street, and many other films, we can expect a real life story to be embellished and stylized for cinematic effect. Even the film isn't completely historically accurate, it's fair to assume we'll be given an exciting, stylized piece of cinema which only Scorsese has the expertise to build.
DiCaprio may also be an indicator that the film will be more charming than it appears. Leo has been known for his charismatic gentleman roles, and we may see one of his most dynamic performances ever if he can pull off being suave and alluring one minute and deliciously sinister the next. This story lends itself towards a performance that Leo can sink his teeth into, and if we know anything about DiCaprio, we can expect that he will.
Based on their string of successful projects, we can expect The Devil in the White City to be a thrill ride of a film, regardless of the director Scorsese takes. The story is unique and sensational, making it a perfect addition to the Scorsese-Leo canon of films. However, it's pretty safe to assume that we'll see Scorsese tropes that we've seen in the past: an over-the-top, glorified story of crime and power with Leo's face all over it, and I am definitely okay with that.
What do you expect from Devil In The White City?