And now James Franco is a professional killer in The Iceman, with Michael Shannon and Benicio del Toro

For a while we've been hearing of dueling projects about hitman Richard "Ice Man" Kuklinski, with Mickey Rourke in one corner and workaholic James Franco, Michael Shannon and Benicio del Toro in the other. And as tough as Rourke is, it looks like he's been beaten to the punch.

THE ICEMAN comes from Nu Image/Millennium and director Ariel Vromen (Rx), based on the book "The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer" by Anthony Bruno and  the documentary "The Iceman Tapes: Conversations with a Killer" by Jim Thebaut. The package made the rounds at the recent AFM, but is obviously now a "go".

From the press release: THE ICEMAN is the electrifying true story of Richard Kuklinski (Shannon), a notorious mob contract killer and loving family man. He earned his nickname by freezing the bodies of his victims, disguising the time of death, and throwing police off-track. He was a man who used his tendencies toward violence and detachment from consequence to create an idyllic family life. His family and neighbors believed he was an average businessman, having no idea about his deadly alternate life. Kuklinski killed over one hundred people during his life. He never felt remorse for anything he had done, except hurting his family. Del Toro co-stars as Kuklinski’s employer, the notorious mobster Roy Demeo, and Franco plays his mentor assassin known as Mr. Softee.

Franco as an assassin named Mr. Softee -- outstanding. The guy's got the itch to kill, since we just reported his interest in more murder on THE NIGHT STALKER as well. And Franco and Shannon must be turning into bestest buds -- they just finished acting together in the feature THE BROKEN TOWER, which Franco also directed.

The status of Rourke's Ice Man project is unknown.

Extra Tidbit: Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (TRANSFORMERS, G.I. JOE) was previously working on the non-Franco/Shannon feature, and wanted Channing Tatum to play the killer. Um...
Source: Deadline



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