After years of turning in spectacular performances as a supporting player, Michael Shannon is finally getting his due as a leading man. He was universally praised for playing the lead in the 2011 indie Take Shelter and this year he’s receiving top-billing on The Iceman, wherein he plays the titular character Richard “Iceman” Kuklinski, who was also known as one of the most ruthless and cold-blooded criminals in American history.
The debut trailer for Ariel Vromen’s thriller was released a few months back, and in it we got a glimpse of the double-life that Kuklinski led. By day he was a devoted and loving father and husband, but by night he transformed into a dangerous and feared contract killer. Even the snippets of Shannon’s performance gave the viewer chills, as well as demonstrated Shannon’s range as a Jekyll-and-Hyde type character.
The second trailer, which you can check out above, gives us a little more of the man behind the monster, revealing his dealings with mobsters, but also his loving interaction with family. It also shows off more of the talented ensemble that surrounds Shannon, including Chris Evans (The Avengers), James Franco (127 Hours), Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) and Winona Ryder as Mrs. Kuklinski.
Those who are not familiar with Kuklinski’s reign of terror – which spanned several decades – can get all the info they need about the man here. The sheer fact that Kuklinski murdered at least 100 people between 1964 and 1986 is even more chilling than Shannon’s portrayal of the notorious hitman.
The trailer isn’t ashamed to give away most of the plot, but since it’s based on a true story and seems to be more of a performance-driven film anyway, that may not be a concern for most moviegoers. The screenplay is adapted from Anthony Bruno’s biography of Kuklinski, The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, but it’s unclear how close it will stick to the real story, as dramatic liberties were almost assuredly taken by the filmmakers.
Since debuting at the Toronto Film Festival last September, the film has received mostly positive reviews, but has not been overwhelmingly praised. Of course, most critics have still not seen the film, so it may be too early to judge.
Go see The Iceman for yourself when it hits theatres on May 3, 2013.