When we learned that James Franco wouldn’t take a major role in Ariel Vromen‘s The Iceman, the film quickly became an unsure prospect. Any project losing what’s arguably its biggest actor is always a considerable blow, especially on a smaller one such as this. I even began to worry that this film — which I found myself interested in more and more as time went on — wouldn’t ever go before cameras.
This isn’t a story about a replacement being found, but it’s a sign that things are still happening nonetheless. According to Variety, Friends actor David Schwimmer is in talks to sign on in the role of Josh Rosenthal, an employee for mobster Roy Demeo, played by Ray Liotta. Rosenthal sees Demeo as “a father figure and will do almost anything to impress him.” And by “do almost anything,” they probably mean “will kill almost anybody.”
(Interestingly, the previously-cast Benicio Del Toro was set to play Demeo, but that clearly didn’t pan out. Even if they ended up dropping two of their most bankable stars, it keeps going. I’d insert an Energizer joke here if it were the mid-’90s.)
It’s also said that Maggie Gyllenhaal has become attached to play the wife of lead character Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski, played here by Michael Shannon. Eat Pray Love‘s Ryan O’Nan is also in the lineup, with the role of “a young hustler who gets caught up in the protag’s web of murder and deception.” This might be the part originally set for Franco, which means — all due respect to O’Nan — they really didn’t concern themselves with finding another big name.
The film’s main subject, Kuklinski, was a family man by day, but his second life had him act as a contract killer for various mob families for several decades, where he earned his nickname from a method in which he stored victims’ corpses in the ice, thus obscuring their actual time of death. His story is a brutal but compelling one, full of deceit and, obviously, graphic murder. And having Shannon in this role helps to dispel some concerns I may hold about a potentially minor production and arguably inexperienced director, because I just love the guy that much. Shooting will commence in January, which makes a release of late 2012 or early 2013 possible.
Would Schwimmer and Gyllenhaal make good picks for The Iceman?
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