Following Keanu Reeves’ Exit, The Devil In The White City Series Hit Another Snag

Keanu Reeves in Parabellum
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

The onscreen adaptation of Erik Larson’s nonfiction book The Devil in the White City still can’t catch a break after all these years. The most recent bump in the road for this project came just last week, with Keanu Reeves, who’d been set to star in the show, exiting for undisclosed reasons. Now it’s been announced that The Devil in the White City, which will be available exclusively to Hulu subscribers, has lost a key behind-the-scenes figure.

Todd Field is no longer attached to The Devil in the White City as director an executive producer. No reason was provided for why he’s exited, but Variety reports that Hulu has begun the search for a director to take his place, with Field having been brought on to direct the first two episodes. Field most recently helmed the Cate Blanchett-led drama Tár (which has been earning critical acclaim), and his other filmmaking credits include In the Bedroom and Little Children.

So within just several days, The Devil in the White City lost both a lead actor and a director/executive producer. That’s especially rough, and while Hulu is wasting no time trying to find people to fill those vacated roles, this will undoubtedly lead to development being extended. In other words, those of you interested in the eight-episode limited series will have to wait even longer for it. 

Published in 2003, The Devil in the White City explores the lives of two notable figures in Chicago’s history in the early-mid 1890s. In one corner, there was architect Daniel Burnham, who was one of the designers of the 1893 World’s Fair, and whom Keanu Reeves was going to play. In another corner, there was serial killer H.H. Holmes, who constructed the building the press later labeled the “Murder Castle” while the Fair was coming together. There’s been no word yet on who’s being looked at to play Holmes.

In 2010, Leonardo DiCaprio purchase the film rights to The Devil in the White City, which had already gone through several failed attempts to be turned into a movie. By 2015, DiCaprio intended to play H.H. Holmes, and he recruited frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese to direct this incarnation of the Devil in the White City film adaptation and Billy Ray to write the script. However, by 2019, the project morphed into its current Hulu series form, and while DiCaprio and Scorsese remain attached as executive producers, the former reportedly isn’t expected to appear on camera.

Sam Shaw is serving as showrunner and executive producer on The Devil in the White City, and the other executive producers include Rick Yorn, Jennifer Davisson, Stacy Sher, Mark Lafferty and Lila Byock. The project is being put together by ABC Signature and Paramount Television Studios. CinemaBlend will continue sharing how The Devil in the White City is coming along as more updates trickle in.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.