It looks as if the biopic based on professional hit man Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski will be short one murderous mentor. James Franco, who was slated to play Robert “Mr. Softee” Pronge, the assassination advisor to Kuklinski (Michael Shannon), has opted out of the project.
The Iceman is based on the book “The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer” by Anthony Bruno. Kuklinski claimed to have murdered over 250 men, committing his first at a very early age. Perhaps with Franco’s upcoming role in Oz: The Great and Powerful, the Oscar-nominated actor wanted to distance himself from the subject matter. Hit the jump for more on The Iceman
Sources at Just Jared claim that financial details were not the reason behind Franco’s departure:
“[Franco] pulled out because he couldn’t come to an agreement on key contractual issues that didn’t involve financial terms. Now it looks like this project might fall apart.”
While Franco’s role as a hit man’s mentor is surely key, The Iceman still sports Shannon in the lead role. You can check out Steve’s exclusive interview with him here. Although Maggie Gyllenhaal is just a rumor for Kuklinski’s wife Deborah, The Iceman boasts Benicio del Toro as mob boss Roy Demeo. The film, directed by Ariel Vroman (Danika), is slated to start filming this December. Check out the product description of the source material below.
At home Richard Kuklinski was a dedicated suburban family man. On the street he was the Iceman, a professional hit man and lethal scam artist, a man so heartless he kept one of his victims frozen for over two years to disguise the time of death. His personal body count was over 100, but the police didn’t have a clue. The Iceman exposes Kuklinski’s murderous double life. [Amazon]