Mobster films are usually a decent bet for Hollywood. Fans of the genre flock to them with hopes that maybe this will be the next Godfather or Goodfellas. With that in mind, Warner Bros. is trying to attract some big names to a new organized crime film, Gangster Squad. Last December, the studio got Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) to sign on to direct the script written by Warren Beall. Now, they are moving on to find some A-List actors to complete the bill.
According to Deadline, a formal offer to play the lead role of boxer-turned-gangster Mickey Cohen has been extended to Sean Penn, and the role of one of the two cops trying to bring him down has been offered to Ryan Gosling. Penn is a silver screen staple, usually good for a great performance and Gosling is one of the hottest actors right now in the business, coming off a solid performance in the critical darling Blue Valentine.
I think this could be a decent effort. I am always in the mood for more mafia films and there hasn’t been a decent one since The Departed, and even that didn’t live up to Scorcese’s best. This sounds more along the vein of The Untouchables, with a better cop actor than Kevin Costner.
The film will probably hinge more on the performance of Penn more than Gosling though. Penn did show hints of the complex cruelty required to play this type of role in his Oscar Winning turn in Mystic River.
Ruben Fleischer could be a good pick as a director, but the only thing I have seen him direct is Zombieland. Also, Warren Beall, even though his script made the 2010 Black List of best unproduced screenplays, I don’t know much about his writing. Hopefully, this project will deliver on its potential and this relatively new writing and directing talent will bring some refreshment to the genre.