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TOLDJA! ‘Gangster Squad’ Casting Up With Sean Penn And Ryan Gosling, And Now Josh Brolin

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has begun negotiating with Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin to star in Gangster Squad, the Will Beall-scripted crime drama that will be directed by Zombieland helmer Ruben Fleischer. Production will begin in the fall. Deadline told you last month that the studio had offered two of the main roles to Penn and Gosling. The linchpin of the film is Los Angeles mobster Mickey Cohen, which is the role that Penn is in talks to play. Gosling and Brolin are in talks to play two cops assigned to bring him down when the gangster’s penchant for violence leaves the blood of innocents on the street. Dan Lin and Kevin McCormick are producing.

Penn had become shaky on the role for a bit — he’s also in talks to star with Christian Bale in the Kurt Johnstad-scripted drama The Last Photograph, which will be directed by The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo helmer Niels Arden Oplev for Dark Castle, but that pic doesn’t start production till next spring — but things have worked out after all. For Penn, this could well be as memorable a gangster turn as when Robert De Niro played Al Capone in The Untouchables. Cohen, a former boxer who became an associate of Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel, was a charismatic figure … Read More »

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In Warner Bros Crime Spree, Studio Eyes Sean Penn For Mickey Cohen, David Yates For Capone Tale

Mike Fleming

Warner Bros is going to the mattresses on mobster movies. The studio has given the green light to Gangster Squad, the Will Beall-scripted crime drama that will be directed by Zombieland helmer Ruben Fleischer. The linchpin of the film is Los Angeles mobster Mickey Cohen, and the studio is formally offering the role to Sean Penn. Ryan Gosling is getting the offer to play one of two cops who try to bring him down. Warner Bros has been sweet on Penn for some time for a role that could be as memorable a gangster turn as when Robert De Niro played Al Capone in The Untouchables. Cohen, a former boxer who became an associate of Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel, was a charismatic figure who caroused around town with a gorgeous girl on his arm, and often with his attractive etiquette coach at his side. He once even took part in a Life Magazine profile. But he was also considered a sociopath whose vices included sex and extortion, and  whose mood could darken on a dime. When innocent people got hurt, law enforcement hardened to the fact he had to be stopped. The drama, based on a series of articles by Paul Lieberman, is the fact-based tale of the crime fighting exploits of a squad of elite Los Angeles officers in the 1940s charged with stopping him and other … Read More »

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Warner Bros Wants Ruben Fleischer To Lead ‘Gangster Squad’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has begun negotiations with Zombieland‘s Ruben Fleischer to direct Gangster Squad, the 40s crime drama that is regarded as one of the hotter scripts in the studio’s arsenal. The film is set in the 40s and  50s and is the fact-based tale by a squad of elite Los Angeles officers who fought organized crime kingpins like Mickey Cohen.  It has been compared in tone to period crime films like The Untouchables and L.A. Confidential. The film is based on a series of articles by Paul Lieberman and was scripted by Will Beall, a former South Central Los Angeles cop who wrote the novel L.A. Rex. The project has had such hot directors as Ben Affleck and Darren Aronofsky giving it serious consideration, as well as Fleischer. Dan Lin and Kevin McCormick are producing.

Fleischer made his feature directing debut with the 2009 corpse comedy Zombieland for Sony Pictures Entertainment, and that studio has done a good job keeping the rising star in the fold. The studio is developing a Zombieland sequel, acquired the project Babe in the Woods that has Fleischer attached, and is expected to acquire for distribution the MRC pic that Fleischer is currently directing, 30 Minutes or Less. Fleischer is repped by UTA.

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No ‘Gangster Squad’ For Darren Aronofsky As He Nears Deal On ‘Wolverine 2′

Mike Fleming

Scratch the Warner Bros period crime drama Gangster Squad from Darren Aronofsky’s Things To Do List. That Will Beall-scripted picture momentarily seemed to be the only thing in the way of the Black Swan helmer reuniting with his Fountain star Hugh Jackman in the Christopher McQuarrie-scripted X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2 at 20th Century Fox. The festival acclaim for Black Swan has put the filmmaker in hot demand (there was also a reported flirtation with Superman) and now it’s a matter of dealmaking isn’t easy. Word is that Aronofsky–who worked for next to nothing upfront to get Black Swan made is in the throes of landing a healthy payday in the vicinity of $5 million against 5% of gross. Fox hasn’t closed a deal yet with the filmmaker’s CAA reps, but clearly Fox sees the filmmaker as ready to make that leap from modest grossing prestige fare like The Wrestler to the high gross stratosphere, the kind of leap made by filmmakers like Bryan Singer and Chris Nolan.

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