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Keanu Reeves to make TV debut with 'Devil in the White City', fans say 'Glad he's not playing the serial killer'

Keanu Reeves will portray Daniel H Burnham in the TV adaptation of America's spookiest real-life serial killer cases
Keanu Reeves (R) to play architect Daniel H Burnham (L) in 'Devil in the White City' (Wikimedia/IMDb)
Keanu Reeves (R) to play architect Daniel H Burnham (L) in 'Devil in the White City' (Wikimedia/IMDb)

Keanu Reeves will feature in Hulu's upcoming adaptation of Erik Larson's 'Devil in the White City,' marking the actor's first significant role on American television. The news has left fans excited to witness the 'John Wick' star make his television debut with one of America's spookiest real-life serial killer cases.

The streaming platform announced a limited series for the drama on Thursday, July 4, at the virtual TV Critics Association press tour. The series is scheduled to premiere in 2024, with the eight episodes available on Hulu. Reeves will also serve as an executive producer.


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'The Devil in the White City' is a real crime narrative about architect Daniel H Burnham, who had lofty plans to make his mark at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The book also focuses on Dr H H Holmes, America's first modern serial murderer, who erected a "Murder Castle" hotel complete with booby traps and other murder tactics.

Reeves will play Daniel H Burnham, an architect “trying to make his mark on history” with his ideas for the fair. The second key character, that of convicted killer Dr H H Holmes, is yet to be cast, according to the streaming site. Mark Lafferty, Todd Field, Sam Shaw, Stacey Sher, Jennifer Davisson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rick Yorn, and Martin Scorsese also serve as executive producers. Stacey Sher is the showrunner and writer, while Todd Field is the director.


Erik Larson's novelistic description of the World's Columbian Exposition, properly known as the World's Columbian Exposition, was released in 2003. The fair was known as White City because of the hue of several of its building exteriors. Herman Webster Mudgett, as Sherlock Holmes, was linked to and confessed to a number of killings. He was tried and condemned to death for only one crime, for which he was killed in 1896.

Various Hollywood actors were interested in the work, and DiCaprio bought the rights in 2010, intending to portray Holmes in a big-screen adaptation. Scorsese was said to be in talks to direct.

Serial Killer H H Holmes: What we know

Dr "Heinous" H H Holmes was not happy with just dismembering or suffocating victims. He also benefited from his victims' bones by polishing them and selling them to medical colleges. Holmes had no limits: he murdered women, children, "friends," strangers, and employees. But Holmes' main claim to fame was the establishment of a real-life 'Bates Motel.' Holmes constructed a big structure with stores on the ground floor and an inn for tourists on the upper floors. But on the inside, he set up fake tunnels, trap doors, and peeping holes to prey on his visitors. He would spy on them from their rooms and kidnap selected "guests" to his hideaway in the basement to commit gruesome killings.

To explain his mistaken life, H H Holmes wrote these chilling words: “I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing. I was born with the evil one standing as my sponsor beside the bed where I was ushered into the world and he has been with me since…”

'Glad he will be the good guy'

Now that Reeves has been cast as the lead, fans are excited to see him play the 'good man' in the series. A fan wrote: "Scorsese is bringing The Devil in the White City to the small screen! Expecting a great show based on a great novel. Keanu Reeves is being cast as Daniel Burnham. Glad he will be the good guy."

Speaking about Reeves not playing the serial killer, a fan tweeted: "I’m glad he’s not playing Holmes. this will undoubtedly cover the revised history where Holmes murdered tons of people, when the actual fact is that more than half the murders he confessed to were of people who were still alive, and he likely killed less than half a dozen folks." Another excited fan tweeted: "me and my oomfs on our way to watch The Devil in The White City starring keanu reeves."




Another fan questioned Reeves' obession with the genre: "From "The Devil's Advocate," to "Constantine," and now "Devil in the White City," what is Keanu Reeves' obsession with the devil? In this essay I will."


Besides the casting fans are also looking forward to see the story portrayed on screen: "They're making a Devil in the White City series with Keanu Reeves as the star. Give me all the murder and deepest architecture descriptions."


Some fans who were hoping to see DiCaprio in the cast are still excited for Reeves: "Yes!! Excellent book. I thought Leonardo DiCaprio was going to do the movie years ago. Whatev, I’m all in for Keanu."


However, some fans were hoping to see Reeves take on the role of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer, "Aw he’s playing the boring role :-("


Speaking of the collab, a fan wrote: "Devil in the White City is gonna be lit on Hulu. Keanu Reeves, Scorsese, DiCaprio. two independent, intertwining crazy storylines. Can't wait for that one."


The eight-episode series is set to premiere in 2024, with filming set to begin next year.

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