By Jeff Otto | The Playlist September 26, 2011 at 10:40AM
Says Director Ruben Fleischer Holds His Own Amongst the Massive Ensemble of 'Gangster Squad'
To say Ryan Gosling’s star is on the rise would be a tremendous understatement at this point. After critically acclaimed roles in 2007’s “Lars and the Real Girl” and last year’s “Blue Valentine,” 2011 feels like the year of Gosling. Following the commercial hit “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” Gosling is the star of this year’s most buzzed-about movie, Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive” and will be returning to theaters once again October 7th as the lead in George Clooney’s political drama, “The Ides of March.”
Next up for Gosling is the intriguing “Gangster Squad” from “Zombieland” director Ruben Fleischer, an epic tale of the 1950’s battle between LAPD and the mob, which is currently shooting in LA (Fleischer's posting set pics to his personal website if you want to check them out). After that, Gosling will re-team with “Drive’s” Refn for “Only God Forgives.”
During a press day chat for 'Ides,' Gosling spoke briefly about the two upcoming projects.
“‘Gangster Squad’ is a 1950’s gangster picture,” says Gosling. “It’s got a great cast. Ruben [Fleischer]’s directing and Sean Penn plays Mickey Cohen. Josh Brolin is the lead and Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Patrick, Emma Stone, Michael Pena. Nick Nolte just signed on. A lot of great actors.”
After “Zombieland” and “30 Seconds or Less,” Fleischer seems like an unlikely choice to direct “Gangster Squad.” “It’s very, very different tonally [from his other films] and I think he’s doing a great job so far,” Gosling tells press. “He’s great. What an undertaking. Period, a gangster picture. There’s all these actors and everyone comes with their own set of needs. He’s handling it really well.”
As for his part as Sgt. Jerry Wooters, one of the cops aiming to take down Penn’s Mob Boss Mickey Cohen, Gosling admits that is a bit of a work in progress. “I’m still trying to figure that out. I’m on it right now and it’s a mystery to me but I’m working on it.”
After 'Squad,' Gosling will head to Thailand for a reunion with Refn in “Only God Forgives.” “We start in January. We’re shooting chronologically. We’ll be in Thailand for five months.” "Only God Forgives" also co-stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, and Yaya Ying, according to the latest production weekly we've seen.
The actor is already in training for the role, which he says requires a lot of prep. “[I’m doing] Muay Thai [training],” Gosling says with a certain bit of exasperation. “It’s been painful. I like it a lot.”
We haven't heard much on “Only God Forgives,” aside that it’s about a British gangster who seeks vengeance on a Thai ex-cop, though some new details have emerged from a production synopsis going around. Gosling doesn’t offer a whole lot of additional clarification other than telling press, “It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever read and it’s only going to get stranger.”
The current synopsis we've seen elaborates a bit, though we tend to agree with Gosling's "strange" assessment so far. This definitely keeps the air of mystery around the story intact, but it sounds like and even more interesting follow up from the dynamic duo of Refn and Gosling.
"Julian lives in exile in Bangkok where he runs a Thai boxing club as a front for the family's drugs smuggling operation. When Julian's brother Billy is killed their mother, Jenna, arrives in the city. She wants revenge and forces Julian to find the killer. Julian's contacts in the criminal underworld lead him directly to The Angel of Vengeance, a retired police officer who knows everything and who is both Judge and Punisher. Jenna demands that Julian kill The Angel of Vengeance, an act that will cost him dearly."