Look upon Leonardo DiCaprio and witness an actor at the height of his power. Here is a man who escaped the "pretty boy" prison that 'Titanic' nearly imposed upon him and re-emerged as the most exciting actor of the decade, an honest-to-god Movie Star with a knack for not only putting himself in successful films, but for putting himself in brave, exciting, artistically viable films directed by truly great filmmakers.
Although his roles have gotten progressively darker over the years, taking on the role of H.H. Holmes in a film adaptation of the best selling non-fiction book 'Devil in the White City' is a bold step for DiCaprio. He's played his fair share of lowlifes and morally tormented characters, but never a suave, debonair serial killer who builds a torture dungeon on the top floors of his hotel and murders an unknown number people (27 confessed, 9 confirmed but possibly as many as 200) during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Say what you want about DiCaprio, but don't say he's unwilling to try new things.
Deadline reports that the rights to Erik Larson's book were scooped up jointly by DiCaprio's Appian Way and Double Features and that a full production will be assembled before a deal is struck with a studio. DiCaprio is smart guy with an eye for talent, so expect him and his fellow producers to nab a prestigious and/or interesting writer and director for the project. Does David Fincher seem like too obvious of a choice for this film? Probably.
It's way too early for such speculation, but this is the internet and speculation reigns as king, and this could be a very special movie. The story of Holmes is strange, sick and fascinating, but in Larson's book it's made all the more epic by being set against the backdrop of 19th century Chicago and the World's Fair. Actually, Holmes may feel like the centerpiece of the book, but it is just as much about Chicago and the construction of the fair as it is about grisly killings. With this setting, and with DiCaprio in the lead role, this could become a rare type of modern film: a unique serial killer movie.