Danny Abeckaser stars alongside Michael Shannon in the epic tale of one of the worst hitmen ever in The Iceman. Abeckaser knew he’d have his work cut out for him working with some of Hollywood’s top talent including Ray Liotta and Winona Ryder on the film. “I really understood that I needed to bring my A game,” he told Uinterview in an exclusive interview. “I mean I tried not to think about them as being these big stars you know and incredible actors.”

Abeckaser’s career began far away from the acting industry as a nightclub promoter. He got his break acting in Kevin Asch’s crime drama Holy Rollers, based on a true story of an Orthodox Jewish community heavily affected by drug smuggling. He went on to land parts Alpha Dog and Freelancers alongside rapper 50 Cent.

And what does Abeckaser think of the real Iceman, Richard Kuklinski, whose life the movie is based on? “Wow, he was a psychopath,” he told Uinterview. “I mean, Mike plays him so well that he kind of gives him a human side to him, that’s why I think that at the end of the movie people kind of like, obviously you realize he’s a killer and you don’t feel bad for what happened to him at the end, but you kind of relate, he loves his family so much, you kind of feel bad, a little bit that it happened but I think the guy was just crazy.”

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Q: What was the most memorable moment on set with Michael Shannon? - Uinterview

I didn’t realize how great he was and just working with him, he just gives you so much. He just elevates your performance. So what I did was, I just basically took some advice that people gave me: Listen to everything he says, pay attention and just react accordingly and that’s basically what I did. He’s just so good that you basically feed off of him and he gives you so much to work with. It was honestly the best experience.

Q: What was it like to work with an all-star cast like Ray Liotta and Winona Ryder? - Uinterview

I just feel very fortunate to get the role and in the beginning I didn'€™t want to put too much pressure on myself. Everyone kept saying Michael Shannon is the most intense and incredible actor and obviously I’m a big fan. I really understood that I needed to bring my A game and really be prepared and really understand what I am getting myself into, knowing that I'€™m really putting in a lot of work. By the time I got on to set I was focused, I mean I tried not to think about them as being these big stars you know and incredible actors. I just felt that if I do what I needed to do once it'€™s all said and done and you watched the movie then obviously you see the performance and now that I look back, I'm like, 'Oh my God.'

Q: What was the most challenging scene for you as an actor? - Uinterview

Probably the hospital scene at the end. Only because, when I read the script and talked to the director, he was explaining that we would be sitting around the table having coffee and he was going to shoot in three different directions, with my POV and his POV, and at the last minute he decided to do a one shot so we went walking through the whole hospital and I went through a panic mode just because I thought, when you do a scene where you can shoot in different coverage you get away with a few things. If you mess up, you can restart, you know the way they edit it, but in a one shot it’s just, that was really hard for me.

Q: ‘The Iceman’ is based on hitman Richard Kuklinski. After making the film, what do you think he was like? - Uinterview

Wow, he was a psychopath. I mean, Mike plays him so well that he kind of gives him a human side to him, that’s why I think that at the end of the movie people kind of like, obviously you realize he’s a killer and you don’t feel bad for what happened to him at the end, but you kind of relate, he loves his family so much, you kind of feel bad, a little bit that it happened but I think the guy was just crazy. But just watching the documentaries and watching his mannerisms and the way he talked, he doesn’t seem like anyone I would want to know to be honest.

Q: Was your character Dino based on any bad guys you have met in real life? - Uinterview

No, because I feel like Dino is so different from Richie [Kuklinski]. In the movie, they grew up in the same neighborhood and they kind of hung out in the beginning but he’s so different from him. Richie is so intense and I feel like Dino is more of a follower, kind of like just wanting to hang around and just be a part of the success. He feels like he is being very successful, because he sees him paying for dinners, he’s all dressed up, the wife, the kids, not realizing what he really does. I grew up in Brooklyn, so I’ve been around those people a little bit but nothing like the Iceman.