In this world, there is nothing more refreshing than someone saying “no” to the misguided and highly-confused Hollywood machine.
The New York Post is reporting that Phil Carlo, author of The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer, has pulled out of his deal with producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura to turn his book into a movie. The reason: di Bonaventura wanted to cast questionable budding superstar Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe, Step Up) in the lead role of the Ice Man, Richard Kuklinski. If you’re not familiar with Kuklinski, then this doesn’t really affect you either way. Believe me when I say that would have been one of the most disgusting casting choices in the history of cinema.
In case you’re not familiar with him, Richard Kuklinski was a man who claimed to have killed 100 to 200 people, and this being true would not surprise me in the least. At first, he was just a purely cold-blooded killer who told stories of murdering people with no remorse for every-day things that simply piss you and I off, like road rage. When the mafia caught wind of his…ability…to kill without a second thought, they went out and hired him as their hitman. He obtained his nickname, Ice Man, due to the fact that he threw the bodies of his victims in a giant freezer to make determining the time of death nearly impossible. He died in prison in 2006.
Click over to see a video featuring one of history’s most dangerous men ever to exist.
Apparently, the option that di Bonaventura owned was about to expire, and he was asking for more time from Carlo so he could get financing and get the project moving. Carlo had heard that the actor he had in mind was Tatum, so he smartly said no.
Here’s a quote on the matter from Carlo:
I had to turn him down. I really hated the idea of Channing Tatum. I told di Bonaventura that this is not the guy to play one of the most feared killers of the 20th Century. I think Mickey Rourke would really be good. He’s got that sense of danger, and there’s a similarity between the two. But it’s not Channing Tatum.
Honestly, I don’t even think Mickey Rourke is a good choice for this role, at all.
It’s hard for me to even describe this man to you if you haven’t seen him with your own eyes. MSNBC has two specials that feature him sitting down with an interviewer, ready and willing to answer every single question in detail. Late one night, I caught one of these specials by chance, and I’ve never been the same. I couldn’t change the channel because the man was frightfully fascinating — he was diabolically infatuating. The way he spoke about these incredibly unspeakable acts…was almost hard to watch. He spoke of them with no remorse, no regret, not a care in the world, like he would and could do every single one of them again in a heartbeat. The man was literally ice cold, and I always thought his nickname fit him much better in this regard.
The reason a name like Channing Tatum makes me so angry, is because of how unique this man was, not only in his personality, but in his mannerisms. He had a very distinct voice complete with an accent. His eyes and his mouth had very obvious and natural ticks to their movements while he spoke of his acts. This man wasn’t born, he was undeviatingly molded of the fires of Hell. Then when you didn’t think a man could be harder to portray as an actor, he throws another layer into the cake: sadness. At one point in one of the specials, Kuklinski’s family becomes the topic of discussion, and in one of the more chilling scenes of the whole thing, you see the slightest of slight signs of emotion. This man with no emotion whatsoever — no problem with killing another human being — truly and honestly loved his family. You witness a man with no regrets bare his one regret, and it can almost be a touching moment. If there is an actor out there who could portray this man with perfection, there is no doubt in my mind that they would win an Oscar — it would be one thousand times more impressive than Charlize Theron’s similar job on Monster.
When I first saw these specials, I immediately wished I could write the script, because the character was just that amazing. Unfortunately, I’m not that talented. I literally spent hours thinking about it as a movie and who could possibly play Richard Kuklinski, and I could not think of one. James Gandolfini is probably the closest one out there, but because he played Tony Soprano, he’s already typecast and it wouldn’t work. I think someone like Paul Giamatti could do it, but he’s too small — Kuklinski was a giant of a man. I think someone like Michael Parks (Bill’s gentleman of leisure father-figure in Kill Bill Volume 2) could do well, but again, too small, too skinny.
The reason why I think it’s impossible to play Kuklinski? Because that man has seen things more horrible than any of us could ever imagine, and you can see it in his eyes. Whether someone can play him or not is yet-to-be-seen, but I promise you one thing: Channing Tatum is so far from talented enough to do the job, it’s sickening.
As you can tell, I’ve had a large amount of thoughts about this man and his story as a movie. With no one else ever having seen it that I could discuss it with, you guys get to hear it all. Thanks for sticking in there!
Here’s one part of one of the specials on MSNBC. It’s an interview from 1995, and you can see for yourself what I mean. I believe you can watch the rest on YouTube if you want to. I’m not sure how often they’re replayed on TV. Video has some graphic topics and images, so watch with caution.
I want to hear what you all think. Who could possibly play Richard Kuklinski in a movie, and do it well?