Apple TV+ is nearing a series order for In With the Devil, a six-hour adaptation of a true crime memoir by James Keene that has Taron Egerton set to star as the author and Richard Jewell‘s Paul Walter Hauser in talks to join him as a suspected serial killer. Michael R. Roskam will direct a script by Dennis Lehane. It will shoot in New Orleans.
Keene was a young Chicago kid who was a standout football player headed for a pro career when a few turns in the wrong direction caught him a decade-long prison sentence with no chance of parole. The son of a Chicago cop was offered by the prosecutor who put him behind bars the chance to be sprung from prison and a chance to redeem himself. The stakes were high. Same prosecutor convicted a man named Larry Hall for abducting and killing a 15-year-old, just one of perhaps 19 other women he killed. The killer could be released on appeal. Keene’s task was to ingratiate himself with the murderer, in prison, and get him to confess to two murders.
The book was a hot property when it was published a decade ago, when Plan B optioned it for screen treatment. Years later, it got set as an HBO series in the mold of True Detective and The Night Of by Imperative Entertainment’s Bradley Thomas and Dan Friedkin, a deal made with Richard Plepler while he ran HBO. The project shook loose after Plepler left and started his Eden Productions shingle.
Apple Studios will produce the latest incarnation, and along with Lehane, Egerton and Roskam, the series will be executive produced by Thomas, Friedkin and Plepler along with Ryan Friedkin, Emjag Productions’ Scott Lambert and Alexandra Milchan, and Kary Antholis. Keene, who wrote the harrowing memoir, is also exec producer.
Imperative Entertainment is separately teamed with Apple Studios and Paramount on Killers of the Flower Moon, the Martin Scorsese-directed Eric Roth-scripted adaptation of the David Grann book that will star Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Imperative won a 2016 auction for the book, and Apple Studios committed to finance and produce the $180 million budget film last May.
Egerton is coming off a Golden Globe-winning turn as Elton John in Rocketman; this is a rare major TV turn for Egerton, who has been attached to an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. Egerton, who stars in the Kingsmen film series, is currently starring in the Apple Original Films drama Tetris, which Jon S. Baird is directing and Matthew Vaughn is producing.
After head-turning work in I, Tonya and BlackKklansman, Hauser turned in an acclaimed performance as the title character in the Clint Eastwood-directed Richard Jewell. He’s currently part of the cast of Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and has Cruella upcoming for Disney+, re-teamed with I, Tonya‘s Craig Gillespie.
Lehane, author of bestsellers including Mystic River, Live By Night, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island, will reteam with Roskam, who made his directing breakthrough with the acclaimed indie Bullhead. Roskam and Lehane teamed on The Drop, an adaptation Lehane scripted from his short story that starred Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and James Gandolfini.
Roskam is repped by UTA and Anonymous Content, Lehane by CAA and Echo Lake Entertainment, Egerton by Range Media Partners, United Agents and Sloane Offer, and Hauser by CAA and Artists First.