Michael Shannon: Iceman mafia hitman was a ‘tragic figure’

Mark Lankester
Yahoo UK Movies News

The word “Hitman” sums up two things – the first is a ruthless contract killer, and the second is a poor 2007 video game inspired movie, about a ruthless contract killer.

But to ‘The Iceman’ star Michael Shannon, notorious real-life hitman Richard Kuklinski was different. “It’s very complicated. It’s hard to sum up,” says Shannon, who plays Kuklinski is the tension-fest biopic. “He had a very complicated life. I ultimately felt like he was kind of a tragic figure.”

[Shannon: Man of Steel Zod more ‘complicated’ than Stamp version]

What made Kuklinski, who claimed to have murdered around 200 men for the Mafia, so different was that he led an almost idyllic family life throughout his criminal career – making him the subject of two acclaimed documentaries. However it was the convicted killer’s heartfelt statement in one of the documentaries that ‘This would not be me’ that Shannon admits drove him to take on role.

“I just think that’s one of the most haunting statements I’ve ever heard anybody make. It’s such a cryptic statement. That’s one of the reasons I did the job – because I wanted to figure out what he meant when he said that ‘This would not be me’.”

After last year’s acclaim magnet ‘Take Shelter’, and the sizable part of General Zod in the upcoming ‘Man Of Steel’, we also got the chance to ask Shannon how it felt to be getting recognition after a 20 year career.

“It seems just kind of like another stop on the road right now,” said the modest star. “I mean I love the fact that people watch what I do and seem to appreciate what I do. Nobody wants to work in a vacuum. But I don’t puff up my chest too much about it. I mean you never know what’s gonna happen next.

[Michael Shannon assures Superman fans 'wait is worth it']

Check out the rest of our interview with the ice-cool Shannon above for more about ‘The Iceman’, and what it was like working making his first film back in 1993, a little known ‘Groundhog Day’.

You can also see Michael talk about his part in the epic ‘Man Of Steel’, here.

‘The Iceman’, directed by Ariel Vromen, is out now in the UK.