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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It’s well known that Warner Bros. is planning to group together several of its heroes for Justice League, but to see DC baddies Bane and General Zod join forces you’ll have to look outside the comic book realm.

Tom Hardy and Michael Shannon are attached to star in The Long Red Road, based on the play by Brett C. Leonard. The role will be a familiar one for Hardy, who previously starred in the original Goodman Theater stage production in Chicago. More details after the jump.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a plucky, intense bike messenger in David Koepp‘s Premium Rush, and Columbia has released a new trailer for the film in advance of its August opening. The studio dropped a fairly middling trailer last year that opened with a dodgy voice-over, and this version thankfully eliminates most of that. This is also a more fast-paced look at the movie, with an emphasis on action. Check it out below. Read More »

When will you see a new trailer for The Avengers? Is there a way to hear some dialogue from the movie now? Want to hear Michael Shannon talk as General Zod from Man of Steel? What did Black Widow do between Iron Man 2 and The Avengers? Does Peter Berg think Hancock 2 will happen? Will Arrow and Smallville take place in the same world? And where can you get the latest look at the villains in The Avengers? Read about all of this and more in today’s Superhero Bits. Read More »

Want to see the best look yet at Hulk from The Avengers? How about some fan made concept art from The Incredibles 2? Did Gary Oldman actually lose his script to The Dark Knight Rises? To which director did Michael Shannon compare his Man of Steel helmer Zack Snyder? Which actor might already be cast in a new Mark Millar movie? Would you like to read the first few pages of Avengers vs. X-Men or the entire Avengers prequel comic? Read about all of this and much more in today’s Superhero Bits. Read More »

You have to give James Franco credit for trying a great many different things, from graduate studies to acting to writing and directing short films and transitioning up to features. Franco has plans to adapt a couple of the more challenging authors around, Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian) and William Faulkner (As I Lay Dying), in the immediate future.

But first there is The Broken Tower, a film about poet Hart Crane that Franco wrote, directed and stars in, with Michael Shannon and Dave Franco also playing roles. The film premiered at the LA Film Festival to mixed reviews, and now that the first teaser trailer has arrived, you’ll probably be able to guess some of the reasons for the shaky reception. Read More »

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It’s never quite been clear to me why Linda Cardellini isn’t a bigger star. Cardellini’s talents have been apparent ever since she starred in Paul Feig’s Freaks & Geeks back in 1999, and over the years she’s shown remarkable range in projects ranging from the deadly somber (Brokeback Mountain) to the utterly silly (Legally Blonde, the Scooby-Doo films).

I don’t know whether her next movie, Return, will do much to raise her profile, but if it doesn’t it certainly looks like another to add to the “Reasons Linda Cardellini Should Be More Famous” pile. Cardellini plays a war vet who’s initially excited to return home to her husband (Michael Shannon) and kids after a long deployment, but struggles to fit back into a world that’s clearly moved on without her. Critics praised Cardellini’s riveting turn after the film’s debut at Cannes last year, and even in this 85-second trailer, it’s easy to see why. Watch the video 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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As we head toward the end of the year, it’s clear that 2011 has yielded some damn great performances from both established stars (Gary Oldman, Glenn Close) and rising talents (Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska). So naturally, the best way to celebrate their accomplishments is by inviting each of them to play characters wholly unlike the ones they’ve recently received acclaim for.

In a video gallery from The New York Times Magazine titled “Touch of Evil,” thirteen of this year’s most notable stars tackle thirteen villainous types, from “The Menacing Dummy” (Oldman) to “The Sociopath” (Rooney Mara channeling A Clockwork Orange‘s Alex DeLarge) and everything in between. Hit the jump for a photo gallery from the feature.

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