Devil In The White City Series Loses Keanu Reeves In Today's Heartbreaking TV News

"The Devil in the White City" seems to have lost its architect in what might be the worst TV news we've heard in weeks. According to Variety, Keanu Reeves has exited the long-gestating adaptation of Erik Larson's popular book, where he was set to play real-life Chicago World's Fair designer Daniel H. Burnham. His turn as the historic architect would have marked Reeves' first live-action major American TV role.

The adaptation of "The Devil in the White City" has been plagued by changes and interruptions since it first began its path to production in 2010. Back then, Leonardo DiCaprio acquired the film rights to the book with plans to play serial killer H.H. Holmes – whose own story parallels Burnhams as the two both make their mark around the same time – in a film adaptation of the material. In 2015, Martin Scorsese boarded the project with plans to direct, but in 2021, news broke that the project would be reconfigured into a Hulu miniseries with both Scorsese and DiCaprio on board as producers, but likely not much more.

Where does that leave the project?

Believe it or not, the story of "The Devil in the White City" goes back even further than 2010, too. According to Variety, Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner were also developing the project at one point, though their option lapsed in 2004. With no other announced cast members, the project seems to be trapped in development hell at this point, but if it can limp its way to the finish line, it could still be great. The book of the same name, subtitled "Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America," captured readers' attention with its compelling, split nonfiction narratives when it was first published in 2003, and still remains an oft-referenced true crime favorite today.

The saga follows Burnham as he takes on the herculean task of helping to construct the 1893 world's fair, an impressive attraction that featured all-new architecture and became an enduring symbol of American exceptionalism, for better or worse. Meanwhile, Larson writes, pharmacist-turned-serial killer Holmes was building a terrible and impressive work of his own, which is commonly called his "Murder Castle." While initial reports about Reeves' involvement were intriguingly mum about which of the two leads he'd be playing, we know now per Variety that he was reportedly set to play Burnham, with someone else filling his killer co-lead's shoes.

This probably goes without saying, but there is no set release date for Hulu's "The Devil in the White City." Here's hoping a new cast comes together soon.