First Look At Josh Brolin & Sean Penn Squaring Off In 'Gangster Squad'

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by Kevin Jagernauth
December 9, 2011 12:13 PM
5 Comments
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With a ridiculously stacked cast including Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, Nick Nolte, Michael Pena, Giovanni Ribisi and many more, in many ways this will be a big test test for "Zombieland" and "30 Minutes Or Less" director Ruben Fleischer. Working with a top shelf ensemble on a period picture, this is a number of firsts for the director, but as he tells EW (who has the first official still from the movie) that was what made it exciting for him.

"I was just looking for an opportunity to try something new, and when I read the script, I was completely passionate about it. I think that passion and that love for Los Angeles and the love for this period of time and the love for this genre kind of swayed any misgivings the studio might have had. It’s been a real step forward for me," he explained. "The size and scale and period — and just the L.A. of it — makes the movie singular and special."

The film is based on a series of articles in the L.A. Times by Paul Lieberman that was picked up soon after its publication in 2008 by Warner Bros. who, in turn, hired former L.A. cop-turned-novelist Will Beall to adapt. The major focus of Lieberman’s article was a specialized L.A.P.D. unit set up in the ‘40s to fight the growing influence of the East Coast Mafia, namely from that infamous gangster Mickey Cohen, a mogul who started as muscle for Al Capone in Chicago. Penn will play Cohen with Gosling and Brolin as the two cops determined to bring him down. But as Fleischer explains, he's used it as a starting point, and taken some liberties with material. 

"We’ve taken some creative license but tried to stay true to the original story and characters as much as possible. O’Mara (Brolin), our lead character, has just come back from fighting the Nazis with all these ideals after seeing America at its greatest. And he’s come home and there’s a gangster running his city. While he was gone, Mickey Cohen (Penn) took over and he turned the streets of L.A. into a battle zone," he reveals about the plot. "In our story, O’ Mara takes the lead of the Gangster Squad, a vigilante police force that fights the gangsters on their own terms, and the battle between them is for the future of Los Angeles: whether it’s going to become corrupt and run by this bunch of gangsters or these guys who fought for these values and want L.A. to be the shining beacon on the west coast that it was always intended to be."

"Ryan’s character also went to war, but when he came back, he was a little disillusioned," Fleischer added about the story. "So he’s more on the fence, hanging out in nightclubs and hanging out with guys who might be gangsters. He’s less clear on where he stands in terms of standing up against Mickey Cohen. But he finds himself in a love triangle with Cohen and Emma Stone’s femme fatale character."

Whoa, whoa. Emma Stone? Femme fatale? Okay, we're sold. "Gangster Squad" opens on October 19, 2012. And this is great opporutnity for us to run our fave set photo from this movie below (courtesy of Socialitelife).

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5 Comments

  • Zack | December 9, 2011 4:23 PMReply

    "Hey girl, I'll bring down Mickey Cohen as soon as I'm done bringing down your heart."

  • jmp | December 9, 2011 2:19 PMReply

    I will never picture Emma Stone as a neo-noir femme fatale. She is too lightweight.

  • shark | December 9, 2011 1:34 PMReply

    Emma Stone seems perfect as a femme fatale in a grim, venomous neo-noir. Which this doesn't look like. For some reason, Sean Penn's gesture there looks comical above all else. I don't think the director of Zombieland is right for this material.

  • snowballa | December 9, 2011 12:40 PMReply

    The cast can't save a cliche script.

  • the honey swan | December 9, 2011 12:28 PMReply

    Incredible cast, yes. But I get a weird vibe on this film. Fleischer's work has an exaggerated cartoonish quality to it. Will this look gritty enough? Or over produced like an accidental Dick Tracy?

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