Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Rocketman) and Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewell) have signed on to star in serial killer Series In With The Devil, which is in the works at Apple. Michaël Roskam (Bullhead) will direct from a script by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island). The duo previously collaborated on the 2014 movie The Drop.
The show will be a six-episode limited series, based on James Keene and Hillel Levin‘s 2010 book In With The Devil: A Fallen Hero, A Serial Killer, and A Dangerous Bargain for Redemption, which told the story of how Keene was offered early release from prison in exchange for coaxing a confession out of a fellow inmate who was a suspected serial killer.
The series will reportedly “examine the intimate relationship between these two prisoners, as well as the lengths that people will go to in order to seek redemption, and whether true absolution is ever really possible”. Egerton will play Keene, while Hauser will play the suspected killer.
Keene grew up the son of a Chicago cop and was poised for a career in American football before finding himself in trouble with the law, and facing around a decade in prison without any possibility of parole. The prosecutor then offered him a unique deal, as he’d also convicted a man named Larry Hall for abducting and killing a teenage girl, and he was worried about Hall’s appeal.
Hall was suspected of killing nearly 20 other women, so instead of risking letting Hall get away, the prosecutor promised to have Keene’s sentence commuted if he could befriend Hall in prison and get him to confess to other murders. It sounds like a narrative that would be scripted for a movie or series, but once again life proves to be stranger than fiction.
The book was actually originally optioned a decade ago by Brad Pitt‘s Plan B, before Imperative Entertainment grabbed the rights and set up the property at HBO. At the time, Richard Plepler was calling the shots. But Plepler left and started his own production company, and the project fell away at HBO. Now Plepler will serve as one of the producers on the project at Apple.
This has the chance to be a fascinating series, and sounds reminiscent of Netflix’s Mindhunter, the kind of prestige hit Apple would love to emulate. It’s also in that true crime genre realm which remains immensely popular.
This is Egerton’s second project with Apple, as he’s also got the movie Tetris in the works at the company. Hauser will soon be seen alongside Emma Stone in Disney’s 101 Dalmatians prequel, Cruella.