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Joseph Fiennes to Play Extreme Athlete Wim Hof in Jeff Pope-Penned Feature 'The Ice Man' (Exclusive)

Updated: Nov 2, 2020

Hof has broken several records relating to cold exposure, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts and running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot. "He's like an iceberg," says Pope.


oseph Fiennes is going extreme for his next role.

In The Ice Man (working title), The Shakespeare in Love and The Handmaid's Tale star will play Wim Hof, the Dutch extreme athlete. The feature comes from Genesius Pictures and Debbie Gray (A Northern Soul, Mrs Lowry & Son), from a script by Oscar-nominated writer Jeff Pope (Philomena, Stan & Ollie). Gray will produce.

Hof got his nickname 'The Iceman' by breaking a number of records related to cold exposure, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes. The athlete has developed the Wim Hof Method, a combination of breathing, cold therapy and commitment, and teaches it to people from all over the world.

"Wim is like an iceberg. There’s a little bit we all know about him poking above the water — the bit that tells us to ‘breathe, motherfu**er,'" said Pope. "But there is so much more to his story that this project will explore. His has been a life full of tragedy, exploration, perseverance and, ultimately, redemption. Now is the right moment for Wim-time."

Added Fiennes: "To carry the incredible Wim Hof message and to bring the extraordinary journey of the Ice Man to the greater consciousness is a unique privilege," said Fiennes. "Coupling that with Jeff Pope, one of the most illustrious screen writers in the business to tell this story is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’m beyond thrilled to participate in. Knowing that the creative experience is championed by the wonderful producer Debbie Gray is the support one could only dream of."

Said Hof: “Finally the method and the story behind it, the journey of one man, like you or me, is going to be revealed. Joseph Fiennes, a great interpreter of drama, will incorporate The Iceman Wim Hof. This is not top acting alone; it takes guts and glory to really do the roleplaying; life and death and back. The film will bring through real experiences and non-speculative understandings – a life-changing feature film. Change is needed, change comes. ... Jeff Pope – the name says it all.”

Gray will produce The Ice Man for Genesius Pictures, with Fiennes and Pope serving as executive producers.

If you want to learn more about the mental and physical health benefits related to open water swimming and cold exposure, feel free to join our ICEWIM Facebook group.

Have you personally experienced a positive impact on your life from open water swimming or cold exposure? We want to hear from you! Share your story with us by emailing an audio or video testimonial to and get a chance to be featured on the ICEWIM Instagram account.

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