Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Who's Your Pick to Play a Mob Hitman? Mickey Rourke or Michael Shannon?

Who would you rather see play a character described by Deadline as "a hulking 6'4" and 300 pound" contract killer who "lived what on the surface was a quiet life as husband and father in New Jersey"? Mickey Rourke or Michael Shannon? It's a question buyers at the American Film Market are facing right now as they decide between two dueling features centered on Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer for the Gambino family who, by his own account, killed up to 200 people.
The question came up regarding these two films after ComingSoon.net uploaded the poster to the right and even after I posted it earlier today someone immediately asked what happened with the Rourke feature, which was first reported back in September. As it turns out, there is now one film being shopped with Rourke and another shopped with Shannon, Benicio del Toro and perhaps James Franco. Just below I've put together the details on each.
Title: The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer
Director: None
Writer: David McKenna (American History X, Blow)
Cast: Mickey Rourke
Anticipated Production Start: Spring 2011
Synopsis: An adaptation of Philip Carlo's book "The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer," which tells the true story of Richard "The Ice Man" Kuklinski (Rourke) who for over 40 years led a double life as a notorious professional assassin and a loving husband and father in suburban New Jersey. The film is being made after Natural Selection CEO Matty Beckerman just closed a deal for life rights of Kuklinski's wife, Barbara, and Pat Kane, the cop who brought Kuklinski to justice.
Title: The Iceman
Director: Ariel Vromen
Writers: Morgan Land and Ariel Vromen
Cast: Michael Shannon, Benicio Del Toro and (maybe) James Franco
Anticipated Production Start: Summer 2011
Synopsis: An adaptation of Anthony Bruno's novel "The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer" which centers on the undercover work of Special Agent Dominick Polifrone of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, working with the New Jersey Attorney General's Office and the New Jersey State Police to bring the mob hitman Richard Kuklinski (Shannon) to justice.
Both films obviously approach the story from different angles, but it's hard to sell the same story twice to audiences. I could see Vromen's film taking a far more fictional approach, changing the name of the people involved and going the "inspired by" route considering they haven't obtained life rights, but it sounds like the first out the gates will be the winner here and right now that looks like it may end up being the Rourke version should the current production dates stick.
Which one would you prefer?
On the one hand you have the face-of-a-thousand-stories that Rourke possesses and on the other you have the potential for the quiet, off-putting demeanor of Shannon. A bit of a toss-up if you ask me, but before you answer perhaps you may want to watch the video below.



Post a Comment