Mickey Rourke sure has enjoyed a great comeback, what with his Oscar-nominated (he should have won) performance in The Wrestler, his casting as the villain Whiplash in the highly-anticipated Iron Man 2, and his joining forces with Sly Stallone for the all-out macho man action pic, The Expendables (he also has a handful of other projects in the works).

And it looks like Rourke is adding yet another project to his schedule, as he’s reportedly landed the role of the infamous real-life mafia assassin known as The Ice Man. NYPost reports that Rourke will play the titular role of The Ice Man, in a film based on a book written by Philip Carlo. The book chronicles the life of the now deceased Richard Kuklinski, who was a notorious murderer and mafia contract killer who claimed to have killed over 200 people in a career spanning 30 years.

Sounds pretty dark, even for a badass like Rourke. Apparently, Rourke wasn’t first choice of Hollywood producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, G.I. Joe); Bonaventura had the rights to The Ice Man bestseller back in 2006, but when his option expired in August (this year, I presume) Carlo wouldn’t extend their deal because Bonaventura apparently wanted Channing Tatum to star.

Urgh, really? Good call, Carlo!

Carlo met with Rourke and reports that “We hit it off beautifully. He’s [Rourke] really looking forward to being the Ice Man, and I think he’ll do a great job. He’s talking about it being his Raging Bull.” Wasn’t The Wrestler his Raging Bull?… Anyway, it sounds like Rourke is really passionate about this project, which may be a bit worrying, considering the dark nature of it.

NYPost also provided some… interesting facts about how many people The Ice Man supposedly killed, along with his brutal methods: He killed 50 vagrants before he was 18 years old; after “turning pro,” he went on to murder 150 people for the Gambino family, employing such methods as guns, knives, strangulation and even poisoning. One gruesome method involved using cobblestones – but Kuklinski cut that out of his repertoire, “because he was getting grey matter on his clothes.”

Strong stuff…

Mugshot of Richard "The Ice Man" Kuklinski

Rourke certainly has the look to pull off such a performance, but I imagine even HE will have to go to some dark places in order to get inside of the mind of Kuklinski. I applaud Rourke for taking on such a role and am looking forward to the project – not for the horrible murders, but for Rourke’s performance.

What do you think about Mickey Rourke playing a sadistic murderer and hit man like The Ice Man? Is Rourke right for the role? if not who should play Kuklinski instead?

Word is that The Ice Man will start shooting Spring, 2010 in New York, New Jersey and Florida. We’ll keep you posted on its status.

BONUS: If you have the stomach, meet the lovely man who is was Richard Kuklinski.

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MEET THE ICE MAN

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Sources: NYPost (thanks to FirstShowing)