DiCaprio to play first American serial killer
It's not quite true, Dr. Henry Howard Holmes was one of the first documented serial killers, but before that you can bet that there were more and more, however he was one of the first actually recognised as being a serial killer, confessing to twenty seven murders, of which nine were confirmed. He lived from 1861 to 1896.
Now he'll be making it to the big screen and none other than Leonardo DiCaprio will be playing the infamous man in an adaptation of the book The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com).
The story looks at the time when Herman Webster Mudgett, known as Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, moved to Chicago and committed his first murders, well the first documented ones at least. There he built a hotel in time for the arrival of the 1893 World's Fair.
It was nicknamed the Castle and took an entire block of three floors. The bottom floor was commercial space, including a drug store that he relocated from the other side of the road, a store that he reportedly took from the original owners whom he may well have murdered.
One of the most interesting parts of this story is what the two floors above were. While they were advertised as hotel rooms, they were windowless and doorways led to nowhere, opening to brick walls, hallways were angled, staircases dropped to nowhere, and there were even one way doors.
He would pick female mostly female victims from his employees and/or lovers and place them in soundproofed rooms and torture them, rooms with gas pipes which could asphyxiate them at any time. He would drop their bodies down chutes to the basement where he would dissect them and sell their skeletons to medical schools, or dispose of their bodies in lime pits, his own furnaces or acid pits. Yes, I said acid pits.
As usual although the killer admitted to twenty seven victims, belief is that he murdered many, many more, and some huge figures have been alleged without much evidence. Still, after the downturn of Chicago he did leave the city and travel around America, and this is where his killing spree is believed to have continued.
So now Leonardo DiCaprio is set to take up the role of the killer, and it marks quite a departure for the actor, although I think he'll surprise us all with a fantastically intense and terrifying performance, after all is there anything he can't do?
Interestingly Deadline Hollywood Daily tell us that he once before was pursuing a film version of the man's story, at a time when Tom Cruise was looking to play the role when he had just bought the rights to the book.
Personally I think this choice has just turned out perfect for him and for the audience.