Winona Ryder has been added to the cast of The Iceman, one of two dueling projects based on the life of fabled Mafia hitman Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski.  Ryder will be playing Kuklinski’s wife, who along with their daughters, had no idea that her husband, a loving family man, was leading a double life as a cold-blooded murderer for the mob. She is reportedly replacing actress Maggie Gyllenhaal in the role.

Ryder joins a cast that already includes Chris Evans (The Avengers) and Michael Shannon (Man of Steel, Boardwalk Empire).

The Iceman is based on Anthony Bruno’s best-selling book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer. Chris Evans will play Robert Pronge, Kuklinski’s mentor in murder, while Shannon will play Kuklinski.  The Iceman is slated to come out next year.

This news puts The Iceman deeper into development than its rival film on the same subject, entitled The Ice Man, an adaptation of Phillip Carlo’s acclaimed book, that is set to star Mickey Rourke as Kuklinski. David McKenna (Blow, American History X) has been hired to pen that script, but no director has been announced, nor has a release date been set.

Both films, with their talented casts, seem like they should be very entertaining – and anyone who has seen the HBO documentary “The Iceman Tapes: Conversations with a Killer” knows that the subject matter is ripe for drama. Kuklinski is believed to have killed upwards of 100 people and is not eligible for parole for 111 years. He used a variety of methods to dispatch his victims, including handguns, shotguns, baseball bats, tire irons, knives, ice picks, and his bare hands.  He was nicknamed “The Ice Man” by the New Jersey Police after it was discovered that the body of one of his victims had been stashed for two years in an ice-cream truck owned by a friend of the killer’s known as “Mr. Softee” (the role Evans will play).

Michael Shannon will play ‘The Iceman’

Michael Shannon is a powerful actor on Boardwalk Empire and he surely can deliver a chilling performance as one of the creepiest and most feared mob assassins ever captured. For Ryder’s part, well, it’s good to see her back in some dramatic fare that better than last year’s comedy miss, The Dilemma.

The Iceman is in production and slated for a 2013 release.

Source: Deadline & Indie Wire