Winona Ryder overwhelmed on return to Venice Film Festival after 20 years

Israeli director Ariel Vroman's The Iceman dissects the duality of a real-life Mafia hitman, who for decades kills on order while never allowing the truth of his occupation to taint his picture-perfect suburban family life.

The movie premiered at this year's Venice Film Festival earlier this week and one of the thriller's stars, Hollywood actress Winona Ryder, found the whole red carpet experience somewhat overwhelming.

She explained: “I haven't been here in 20 years.

“I was here for Age of Innocence literally 20 years ago. So the world has really changed - the Internet, it's just a different time now!'"

Ryder plays the adoring wife of real-life mob enforcer Richard Kuklinski (the Iceman of the title), who was convicted in 1986 of murdering 100 men for various New York City crime organizations.

Michael Shannon takes the lead role, while Ray Liotta takes the role of the Mafia boss who sees hit-man potential in Kuklilnski's dispassionate coolness and absence of fear.

Shannon based much of his chilling portrayal of the serial killer on HBO documentary, The Iceman - Confessions of a Serial Killer.

He said: "A lot of people, when they watch the video, they think he's cold blooded, ruthless, he didn't care, this and that.

“But I mean, what's a guy going to do? Break down and start sobbing in front of the camera? I mean he probably does that alone when he's in his cell at night, wishing he wasn't in prison and can have his family back, but he's not going to do that in front of the camera so that millions of people can watch and make fun of him. So he was holding his cards close to his vest.

“But I could tell underneath it all that he was a very sad, sad man."

Ryder, on the other hand, tried to stay as far away from the details of Kuklilnski's life as possible.

"All of the information that was available, you couldn't get 30 seconds without hearing about the most disgusting, brutal graphic crime. I mean this is, this really happened.

“This really happened and I know it's just a movie and it's like condensed but this was real and so it's very haunting to me and so it's very…if I had watched any of that or researched it, I would have played it completely differently. I would've probably played it like... [cowers]"

"I felt very protective of her," Shannon said of his co-star. "I immediately had that, like I guess instinctively, kind of like that relationship that we have in the movie. Kind of like King Kong - 'everybody leave her alone' you know?"

  • The Iceman is showing out-of-competition at the 69th Venice Film Festival.

People who read this story also read