VENICE, Italy – Loving father and husband at home, a ruthless killer at work: The real-life Mafia hit man who inspired Ariel Vromen’s new film, “The Iceman,” had a steep after-work decompression curve.
“The Iceman,” which premiered Thursday in competition at the Venice Film Festival, dissects the duality of the real life of Richard Kuklinski, who for decades killed on order while keeping the truth of his occupation from tainting his perfect suburban family life.
The movie stars Michael Shannon, the film world’s latest Mafia hit man, Winona Ryder as his unsuspecting wife and Ray Liotta as the Mafia boss who sees hit-man potential in Kuklinski’s dispassionate coolness and absence of fear.
Vromen said he was captivated when he saw Kuklinski, who was arrested in 1986, tell his story a 2006 documentary. He said he found himself surprised to feel empathy for a man eventually convicted of at least 100 mob hits and who may have committed more than twice that number.
All the while, Kuklinski created an idealized home life for his wife and two daughters, whom he sent to Catholic school and took on roller skating outings.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about it, about why did I care about that really, really extreme monster? And it was haunting me, the fact that I did care, that I had a very, very deep empathy,” Vromen said in an interview.
“It was quite a challenging struggle to write a script that would be balanced enough, to show on the one hand that this is the devil, and on the other hand not try to be corny and be an apologist for a character like that.
Vromen said he fought for two years to get Shannon for the role, warding off “the obvious choices.”
“Michael Shannon comes with a darkness,” Vromen said. “If he comes with darkness, my job is to be, how can I lighten that darkness? How can I make that darkness more refined?”
So as promised, the first batch of pictures are now up in the gallery. Check it:
Following the Venice Festival photocall, here’s the first trailer for “The Iceman”:
Here’s the first look of Winona, currently at Venice Festival red carpet presenting “The Iceman”. Check back later for more pictures.
London Film Festival organizers say this year’s event will open in October with Tim Burton’s canine monster movie “Frankenweenie.” The animated black-and-white tale of a boy’s attempts to bring his beloved dead dog back to life will have its European premiere at the festival on Oct. 10.
It will have a red-carpet gala premiere at London’s Odeon Leicester Square and will be screened simultaneously at 30 theaters across Britain.
The film is a feature-length expansion of Burton’s 1984 live-action short of the same name. Festival chief Clare Stewart said Thursday that Burton’s “funny, dark and whimsical” tale “playfully turns the Frankenstein story on its bolted-on head.”
The 56th London Film Festival runs Oct. 10-21. The full lineup will be announced next month.
With just over a month to go before the stop-motion film hits theaters, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie has debuted two new TV spots. Check them both out in the players below!
Opening in 3D and 2D theaters on October 5, the movie features the voices of Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron and Conchata Ferrell.