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Devil in the Details: Can DiCaprio & Scorsese Recreate Devil in the White City?

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Erik Larson's beloved book Devil in the White City will finally exit development purgatory after years of inaction and a multi-studio bidding war, according to Deadline Hollywood, with Martin Scorsese set to direct and Leonardo DiCaprio signed on to play serial killer H.H. Holmes. While the reunion of the director and performer and the realization of a much-delayed project are both reasons to get excited, we're just as hyped about the idea of bringing the architecture of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition to the silver screen, as well as seeing today's actors portray architectural legends. We know Leo's playing the bad guy, and that this will likely be a blockbuster. Considering the budget that might be available, who should be cast for the parts of Burnham, Root, Frederick Law Olmstead and others?


Daniel Burnham: Played by Nick Offerman
The role of fair director would give the Parks & Rec star an opportunity to prove his dramatic credentials. Plus, it may be safe to say that Ron Swanson and Burnham would have similar levels of gravitas.


John Root: Played by Kiefer Sutherland
The 24 star may get scant screen time playing Burnham's partner, since Root passes away before construction of the fair begins, but he would have some pivotal early scenes.


George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.: Played by George Clooney
The man who dared to "Out-Eiffel Eiffel" could be a meaty role; hopefully, along with the moustache, Clooney also brings back the accent from O Brother Where Art Thou?


Sophia Hayden Bennett: Played by Lizzy Caplan
The Masters of Sex actress (who may also be familiar to fans of Mean Girls—she was Janis Ian) has made a splash on the series playing Virginia Johnson, a smart, independent medical researcher who fights prejudice and misogynist assumptions about her capabilities in a field where women were a rare sight. She could bring some pizzazz to, sadly, the lone prominent female character in the story. Here's hoping they don't sideline Bennett, who designed the "Woman's Building" (we know) at the World's Fair.


Louis Sullivan: Played by Jeff Goldblum
This works on a few levels beyond just the matching beards. Goldblum has a rich history of playing ahead-of-their time, smart-aleck scientists, so is it a massive stretch to see him take on the role of "father of the skyscraper?"


Frederick Law Olmsted: Played by Anthony Hopkins
He may have to ditch the accent, but Hopkins could definitely master the self-regard necessary to take on the role of the then-70-year-old landscape architect.

Of course, the most important role may just be the White City itself. While our picks for different architects are nothing more than speculation, It'll be interesting to see how filmmakers recreate the iconic structures created by some of American architecture's biggest names.

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