James Franco will star in 'The Iceman', it was confirmed today (21.01.11).

The '127 Hours' actor will play the role of assassin Mr. Softee who acts as a mentor to the main character Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) in the film based on the real life story of the notorious mafia contract killer who hid his crimes from The Police by freezing his victim's bodies to disguise the time of death.

Benicio Del Toro will play the killer's employer, mobster Roy Demeo while Ariel Vromen - who wrote the screenplay based on the book 'The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer' by Anthony Bruno with Morgan Land - will direct.

Kuklinski's family had no idea about his crimes and thought he was simply a mild mannered businessman.

Avi Lerner - of Nu Image/Millennium said: "Our film is going to be fantastic. The story is riveting, the cast perfect, and all being directed by the talents of Ariel Vromen. We are pleased to be working with Bleiberg Entertainment."

Director Ariel added in a joint statement made by Millennium Films and Bleiberg Entertainment: "I am honored to work with such a talented cast on such a compelling story. Since the early stages of development I had the dream of casting Michael Shannon as Kuklinski, as I believe there's no one else that can play this part better than him."

Producer Ehud Bleiberg said: "Richard Kuklinski is a remarkably vivid, imminently watchable character, as was evident from the real-life footage of him. Ariel is a tremendously talented young filmmaker who has poured his heart into this project and has a strong, artistic vision."