Sources say the Disney-backed streamer is no longer moving forward with the limited series that had been in various stages of development for more than a decade. However, sources say producers ABC Signature remains committed to the drama and will be shopping the show to new outlets.
The news comes months after leading man Keanu Reeves and director Todd Field (Tár) dropped out of the drama from Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Sources say Hulu and Paramount Television Studios and Disney’s ABC Signature, who together were on board to produce the series, had been in talks with The Bear star Jeremy Allen White and Jude Law and director Matt Ross for the project. Sources say ABC Signature is still in talks with White, Law and director Ross for the series, though it’s unclear if they will close given the fact that Devil does not currently have a home.
Devil has been in the works for more than a decade, including a stint when it was envisioned as a feature film, with Sam Shaw (Hulu’s Castle Rock) on board as writer, showrunner and exec producer. DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner, Jennifer Davisson, exec produce alongside Scorsese. The latter was previously set to direct the feature film take that had been set up at Paramount Pictures with DiCaprio formerly set to star.
Reeves — following months of dealmaking — was attached to star and exec produce the series that landed at Hulu for development in 2019 and was formally picked up to series last year. Field was on board to direct the crime drama, which ultimately became a co-production between Paramount Television Studios and Disney’s ABC Signature. Paramount Pictures won the rights to the novel following a massive bidding war in 2015, when Billy Ray was on board to pen the scripts. Field departed three days after Reeves dropped out of the show.
Based on Erik Larson’s novel, Devil revolved around Daniel H. Burnham (the role formerly to have been played by Reeves), a demanding but visionary architect who races to make his mark on history with the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and Dr. H. H. Holmes, America’s first modern serial killer and the man behind the notorious “Murder Castle” built in the fair’s shadow.
Rick Yorn, Stacey Sher and Mark Lafferty also exec produce the series. A formal episode count has not yet been determined. Scorsese and DiCaprio previously teamed for features Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island and The Wolf of Wall Street. The frequent collaborators had previously developed TV takes on Gangs of New York and Shutter Island, though neither moved beyond the script stage. DiCaprio currently has a film and TV deal at Apple where he exec produced the Apple series Shining Girls.
Updated 5:14 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect that Jeremy Allen White, Jude Law and director Matt Ross are still in talks to board Devil.