when actors Michael Shannon and Winona Ryder came together for the first time, Shannon made quite an impression on her co-star. So much so that he ended up bringing Ryder to tears.
Winona Ryder and Michael Shannon starred in ‘The Iceman’
Ryder and Shannon both co-starred in the 2012 feature iceman. The film was a fictional retelling of real-life serial killer Richard Kuklinski, who was responsible for several infamous crimes. Winona Ryder portrayed Shannon’s wife in the film, with the character being very loosely based on Kuklinski’s own wife.
Shannon had nothing but kind words when it came to acting alongside his co-star Ryder. In a 2013 interview with yahooI have explained what made Ryder the perfect dance partner for iceman.
“Well, she’s so wonderfully vulnerable. I was so happy that it was her de ella playing the part of ella because I think the stereotypical route would be a real brassy, New Jersey housewife to match up with the roughness of Richard’s character, ”Shannon explained. “But she’s so fragile and yet she does have a strength about her, but it’s unique. It’s not obvious. It’s not over-the-top.”
What made his scenes with Ryder also really stand out was the intangible chemistry they had with each other.
“I felt like all my scenes with her, I could just sit and talk and listen. There wasn’t a huge effort to try and make something happen. Chemistry is weird. You don’t know where it comes from or why it happens, but you just have it with some people and I felt that with her,” he added.
Michael Shannon made Winona Ryder cry while filming ‘The Iceman’
Ryder had similar praise for her Iceman Cost. She was so impressed by Shannon’s A-List acting ability that she compared him to another memorable talent who Ryder collaborated with personally.
“I’ve worked with some great leading men over the years – Daniel Day Lewis, Gary Oldman, Richard Gere – and Michael is right up there with them,” Ryder once said in an interview with Young Hollywood.
To Ryder, Shannon’s work was nothing short of inspirational, and made Ryder reflect on her own reasons for becoming an actor.
“Michael is one of these actors who has a certain spark, who reminds me of why I wanted to be an actor in the first place…Nothing against any of the other wonderful actors I’ve worked with, but that is a very rare and very special thing,” she said.
As inspiring as Shannon was, however, Ryder also admitted that watching her co-star work was occasionally terrifying.
“I have made it frightening sometimes. In one scene, where we argue and he storms out of the room, the script just says, ‘Michael leaves the room and goes to the garage, but when he left the room he was furious and he knocked things over and pushed everything off the table. I was honestly scared, and afterwards, I even started crying. It was all unexpected, which made the reaction much more real,” she remembered.
Michael Shannon and Winona Ryder approached their ‘Iceman’ roles in different ways
Shannon and Ryder both took different routes to inhabit their characters. Shannon did an extensive research on Kuklinski, which included watching the infamous serial killer’s many interviews.
“I would sit and watch it by myself, over and over—there were like 10 DVDs. It became a very intimate thing, and I almost started to feel like I was the interviewer, even though I wasn’t asking the questions. I can’t imagine a better way to research a part, really,” Shannon once said in an interview with Fangoria.
On the other hand, Ryder couldn’t bring herself to investigate the her part with the same level of detail. The actor simply couldn’t stomach watching Kuklinski’s real-life interviews.
“To be honest—and I know it’s different from Michael—I just found them repulsive and disturbing, and I had to turn them off. I had a friend fast-forward to any, like, 40-second clips of his wife talking,” she said.
Compared to Kuklinski, there was much little information to pull from regarding the serial killer’s wife. So much of Ryder’s performance was based on her own imagination. Although the stranger things actor could’ve met Kuklinski’s wife in person, she didn’t feel doing so was necessary.
“Obviously, I usually like to have their blessing and get a chance to talk to them. But I do feel like in this case, she has always stuck to the story that she knew nothing, so I do not know why she would necessarily want to talk to me, ”she said.
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