The Devil in the White City will officially come to life (a strange sentence, I know) on the silver screen.
Variety reports that Leonardo DiCaprio will play Holmes for Martin Scorsese in a long-awaited adaptation of the popular book. This will be their sixth collaboration after The Wolf of Wall Street, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, and Shutter Island. According to Variety, the project has been in development for more than a decade.
—Joanna Robinson, Vanity Fair
In the era of CGI blockbusters, this breaking casting news for a gritty, dark story is oddly refreshing. Ironically, the outcome will likely not be as refreshing as we expect.
But not for the reason you’re thinking.
Leonardo DiCaprio is a gifted actor with an anywhere, anytime magnetism with fans around the world who become instantly attentive with the mere mention of his name. If he’s in a movie, people will see it. The Devil in the White City is a lauded novel with a gruesome premise: murder. And lots of it. Add in the fact that it’s based on real events and the cringe factor is elevated when reading it from the book’s 400+ pages, let alone graphic visual interpretations from a director who refuses to censor violence and its brutal consequences. As certain as the novel’s intense scenes will come close to meeting our imaginative nightmares, so will the DiCaprio-Scorsese partnership remain within the cinematic confines of their past collaborations.
These two Hollywood veterans will produce impressive performances in their own rights from back in 19th-century Chicago, yet this film will likely prevent DiCaprio from earning that sought-after golden statue at the Oscars.
Leonardo DiCaprio is such a money actor (in many ways) that it’s easy for people to envision him in the roles he accepts. That’s a valuable quality in Hollywood and it should be recognized as a defining characteristic of his everlastingly long career. However, some of the most memorable actors with similar charisma, before holding a golden statue with the words, “Best Actor” on it, took on surprising characters that people criticized with striking bewilderment.
There’s a forty second video clip that’s resurfaced from a 2012 documentary that includes Heath Ledger’s diary used for his preparation for his genius portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight. Ledger carefully and purposely escaped into becoming the Joker with a terrifyingly original vision and daring creativity that resulted in something truly mesmerizing. There was outcry about his initial casting, yet this was met with nothing but legendary praise following his iconic performance of the diabolical Batman villain.
Heath Ledger shocked the cinematic world in the best ways imaginable in The Dark Knight.
The reason for mentioning Heath Ledger is he (like DiCaprio) had similar skills in playing a wide-variety of characters, but it wasn’t until Ledger took on a role of a lifetime that required him to utilize every single talent he had that he finally revealed himself as a true giant of acting. We were all amazed (and still are) at his performance. At the same time, the audience never saw Heath Ledger on screen. We only saw and heard the Joker.
Discovering how to escape in front of the public eye’s camera is one of DiCaprio’s goals with his personal life, but it’s also the devil he must defeat on film to ultimately grip that coveted golden statue in front of a billion people.