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Keanu Reeves takes rare TV role in historical thriller

Keanu Reeves will star in a TV adaptation of “The Devil in the White City.”

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Keanu Reeves will star in a TV adaptation of “The Devil in the White City.” The nonfiction thriller about ambition, a killer and the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago was written by Erik Larson. The Hulu streaming service says that Reeves will portray Daniel H. Burnham, an architect who helped design the fair.

LOS ANGELES — Keanu Reeves will star in a TV adaptation of “The Devil in the White City,” the bestselling nonfiction thriller about ambition, a killer and the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

Reeves will portray Daniel H. Burnham, an architect “trying to make his mark on history” with his designs for the fair, Hulu said in announcing the limited series Thursday. The other central role, that of convicted murderer Dr. H.H. Holmes, has yet to be cast, the streaming service said.

Erik Larson’s novelistic-style account of the fair — formally called the World’s Columbian Exposition — was published in 2003. The fair’s nickname was White City, stemming from the color of many of its building exteriors.

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Various Hollywood players circled the book, and Leonardo DiCaprio acquired the rights in 2010, with the aim of starring in a big-screen version as Holmes. Martin Scorsese reportedly was set to direct.

Scorsese, DiCaprio and Reeves are among the series’ producers. There was no immediate word of an on-screen role for DiCaprio in the Hulu project, and its release date was not announced.

Reeves has worked almost exclusively in films, including the “Matrix” and “John Wick” franchises. He took an excursion into TV with “Swedish Dicks,” a 2016-18 comedy series about Swedish private eyes in which Reeves made brief appearances.

Holmes, born Herman Webster Mudgett, was linked to and confessed to a number of murders. He was convicted and sentenced to death for only one and was executed in 1896.

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