After the dual disappointments of Killing Me Softly and Gangster Squad, I’m feeling a little burned out on mob movies at the moment. So maybe it’s just my mood that has me unimpressed with the new trailer for The Iceman. On the one hand, director Ariel Vromen seems to have a flair for visuals, the cast looks strong, and the fact-based premise is intriguing. On the other, it all looks so tiresomely familiar.

Michael Shannon stars as real-life hitman Richard Kuklinski, who allegedly racked up over 100 kills over a four-decade career. He makes good money whacking people for gangster Roy Demeo (genre staple Ray Liotta), until an incident involving Demeo’s underling (David Schwimmer) forces Kuklinski out of their operation. He then teams up with freelance killer Robert Pronge (Chris Evans), which comes with its own complications. Winona Ryder also stars, as Kuklinski’s oblivious wife. Watch the new trailer after the jump.

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Michael Shannon is second to none when it comes to channeling intensity, but as the lead of Ariel Vromen‘s The Iceman he could be more frightening than ever. Shannon stars as real-life mob hitman Richard Kuklinski, whose touching devotion to his family masks a knack for cold-blooded killing. (Though he maintains a soft spot for women and children in both lives.) The brutally effective Kuklinski is believed to have murdered over a hundred people before his four-decade career ended in 1986.

There was a little back-and-forth on the film last year, when it looked for a while like it might fall apart altogether after James Franco dropped out of a major role. But they’ve managed to make it work, with Chris Evans taking over for Franco and Franco returning a smaller part. Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer, and Stephen Dorff are also among the supporting cast. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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For a while there it looked like Ariel Vromen‘s The Iceman was on the verge of falling apart, as James Franco dropped out of the project. But the hitman biopic is moving along with David Schwimmer and Chris Evans added to the cast in recent weeks, and now Winona Ryder has boarded the picture as well in a role once slated for Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Ryder will play the wife of mob contract killer Richard Kuklinski, a.k.a. The Iceman (Michael Shannon), who’s unaware of the true nature of her husband’s career. Ray Liotta and Ryan O’Nan will also star.

Based on interview footage and Anthony Bruno‘s book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, the picture is scheduled to begin production early next year in Louisiana. [Deadline]

After the jump, a former Everybody Loves Raymond star gets fired by a former The Office star, a Broadway adaptation casts a Broadway star, and a trio of rising Brit talents sign on for an artsy romance.

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Hot off two of the year’s most buzzed-about performances in Albert Nobbs and Martha Marcy May Marlene, Glenn Close and Elizabeth Olsen have signed on to star in Thérèse Raquin. Charlie Stratton is writing and directing the erotic thriller, which is based on a 19th century novel and play by Émile Zola. Olsen will lead the cast as the titular young woman, who’s pushed into an unhappy marriage by her overbearing aunt (Close). Thérèse eventually falls into a passionate affair with her husband’s friend Laurent, with destructive consequences for all involved.

Close has reportedly been attached to the film for years, though Olsen’s involvement appears to be a recent development. Thérèse Raquin is scheduled to begin shooting this spring. [Entertainment Weekly]

After the jump, David Schwimmer gears up to kill people and Saoirse Ronan gets another love interest for The Host.

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It feels like James Franco is attached to pretty much everything these days, but now there’s one less Franco project we have to look forward to. According to JustJared.com, the star has pulled out of The Iceman, a biopic of Mafia hitman Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski. Franco was lined up to play Robert “Mr. Softee” Pronge, the “mentor assassin” to Kuklinski (Michael Shannon); Ray Liotta and Maggie Gyllenhaal were also set to star in the picture, by director Ariel Vroman. However, with Franco gone, “it looks like this project might fall apart,” a source told the site.

Details of Franco’s exit have not been revealed, although the same source blames “key contractual issues that didn’t involve financial terms.” The rest of the cast sounds too interesting to waste, so I’m hoping the movie can still come together out even without Franco’s involvement. If not, well, there’s always The Ice Man, the competing project starring Mickey Rourke. [Cinema Blend]

After the jump, Franco’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes co-star Tom Felton gets to play a good guy for once, and Ruben Fleischer is still adding people to the cast of Gangster Squad.

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People really want to make movies about mob hitman Richard ‘the Ice Man’ Kuklinski. Mickey Rourke has been attached to The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer for some time. But last November we heard about a rival film: The Iceman, with Michael Shannon playing Kuklinski and possible support from Benicio del Toro and James Franco.

Now the casting of those two appears to be confirmed, and it looks like The Iceman will beat the other production to the starting line. Read More »

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