What Could’ve Been Keanu Reeves’ Most Exciting Project Is Now Dead In The Water
— Updated on 10 March 2023

What Could’ve Been Keanu Reeves’ Most Exciting Project Is Now Dead In The Water

— Updated on 10 March 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Over a decade since being optioned by Leonardo DiCaprio – and even longer since being optioned by Tom Cruise – it seemed as though Hulu’s adaptation of The Devil In The White City: Murder, Magic, & Madness At The Fair That Changed America was finally moving forward with Keanu Reeves cast in the lead roles. That was until the project was dragged right back down to development hell before being quietly axed this week.

Now, what could’ve been Reeves’ most exciting project from a dramatic standpoint – don’t worry, we rate the action-packed fun of the John Wick franchise – is officially dead in the water.

It all began to unravel when director and executive producer Todd Field (In The Bedroom, Little Children, Tár) exited due to undisclosed reasons; likely a euphemism for creative differences. According to Variety, Reeves had signed on partially due to Field’s involvement, and once the Academy Award-nominated filmmaker was out of the picture, so was he.

Inside sources with knowledge of the situation have indicated there are plans to shop The Devil In The White City to other platforms and outlets. But generally speaking, when both the director slash executive producer and series lead walk, you call it a day and shelve the project until the stars (re)align.

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Devil In The White City: Keanu Reeve Series Dead In The Water

So what was so promising about The Devil In The White City?

The historical crime thriller written by Erik Larson was initially set to become a feature-length film starring and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio with Martin Scorsese as its director; the adapted screenplay accomplished by Billy Ray (State of Play, Captain Phillips, Richard Jewell). But a lot had obviously changed since 2010.

While DiCaprio and Scorsese were still attached as executive producers alongside Rick Yorn, Stacey Sher, and Mark Lafferty, as you now know, the torch had been passed onto Keanu Reeves and Todd Field; the latter two had also served as executive producers in their own right prior to departing.

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In terms of story, The Devil In The White City set out to tell the disturbingly true story of Daniel H. Burnham (Keanu Reeves) – a demanding but visionary architect who “races to make his mark on history with the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair”; and Dr Henry H. Holmes (no casting ever confirmed) – America’s first modern serial killer and the same man behind the notorious “Murder Castle” built in the Fair’s shadow. An intriguing concept if we’ve ever heard one.

As for the individual who’d been tasked with steering this limited series of a ship, that responsibility was handed to the very capable Sam Shaw, who also signed on as a writer and executive producer in addition to showrunner. Shaw is best known for creating and writing another Hulu literary adaptation in Castle Rock, Manhattan, as well as for his contributions to Masters of Sex.

The Devil In The White City would’ve effectively marked the ninth collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio with Martin Scorsese if you count The Audition (a promotional short film funded by Melco Crown Entertainment Limited). The seventh, Killers of the Flower Moon, is still on the cutting floor with a view of premiering at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival; while the eighth, currently dubbed The Wager, was announced last July.

RELATED: Martin Scorsese & Leonardo DiCaprio Are Already Reuniting For Their 7th Film

An adaptation of David Grann’s upcoming non-fiction book The Wager – A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, & Murder, according to The Hollywood Reporter, here’s what we’re in for with Scorsese and DiCaprio’s flick #8:

Set in the 1740s, ‘The Wager’ is set in motion when a patched-together boat with 30 emaciated men lands on the coast of Brazil. The men were the surviving crew of a British ship that was chasing a Spanish vessel and had crashed onto an island in South America’s Patagonia region. Their tales of surviving the seas and elements made them heroes.

However, six months later another vessel even more beat up than the first showed up on the coast of Chile, this one with three sailors – who accuse the passengers on the other boat of being mutineers.

As accusations and counter-accusations flew, the British Admiralty set a special trial to uncover the truth of what exactly happened on the island, exposing a story of not just a captain and crew struggling to survive one of the most extreme climates on the planet, but also battling their own human natures.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]