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Cruise, DiCaprio plan dueling serial killer projects. Both Tom and Leo want to make movies about H.H. Holmes, who stalked the 1893 Chicago World's Fair

Great minds think alike in Hollywood, especially when one of those minds is Leonardo DiCaprio's. According to Variety, he and Tom Cruise are in a race to see who can make the first movie about H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who preyed on young women who visited the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

Holmes, who claimed to have killed 27 people, dispatched his victims and disposed of their bodies with gruesome ingenuity in a hotel he built himself, to which he lured unwary travelers. The killer, who was finally caught by a Pinkerton detective, is the subject of Erik Larson's current bestseller, ''The Devil in the White City,'' to which Cruise has purchased the rights. He'd produce the film, with the ''K-19: The Widowmaker'' team of Kathryn Bigelow and Christopher Kyle coming aboard to direct and write, respectively. (It's not clear if Cruise would also star in the movie.)

Larson's book was published in February, but DiCaprio has been developing his own version since November, having hired screenwriters Aaron and Matthew Bernay to fashion a script from the wealth of public-domain material on the case. He'd produce and star in the film, though it's not clear whether he'd play the killer or the detective.

The Holmes race is one of three sets of dueling biographical projects involving DiCaprio. There's also his Howard Hughes biopic (he's racing against Jim Carrey for that one) and his Alexander the Great biopic, to be directed by Baz Luhrmann, vs. Colin Farrell's Alexander movie, to be directed by Oliver Stone. Farrell and Stone's movie was also scripted by Kyle. Maybe next time DiCaprio wants to produce a movie, he should hire Kyle to write it, just to keep him out of the hands of the competition.

Originally posted Apr 09, 2003