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Sean Penn & Ryan Gosling Circling Ruben Fleischer’s ‘Gangster Squad’; David Yates May Helm ‘Capone’ Biopic

Written by on March 30, 2011 

Warner Bros. is looking to start a crime wave: the studio is circling Sean Penn to star as Mickey Cohen in Ruben Fleischer‘s Gangster Squad. Ryan Gosling is also attached to play one of the cops bringing him down. The studio is also looking to tap Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows director David Yates for a biopic covering the early years of Al Capone. [Deadline]

The Zombieland director is directing the Micky C. movie, which will be scripted by South Los Angeles cop-turned-crime-novelist Will Beall. Mickey C’s exploits have been touched on in films like the Warren Beatty-starring Bugsy and the character appears briefly in L.A. Confidential. Cohen started out as a Chicago mob enforcer and was an associate of Al Capone. Cohen worked for an associate of Meyer Lansky in Cleveland before moving to Las Vegas and helping Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel set up the Flamingo casino, which began the Gangster Era of Vegas. Cohen eventually became king of the L.A. rackets, and for a while sold more newspapers than anyone else in the United States. The film is based on a series of article written by Paul Lieberman and will follow the real-life story of a squad of cops who are charged with locking Cohen up for good.

Will Penn join the mob? He’s been seriously busy with his relief work in Haiti, but we’ll know for sure soon. And since we’re on the subject, Warners wants to keep David Yates in the family by giving him an Al Capone bio to direct. Scribe Walon Green‘s Cicero, a chronicle of the ferocious Chicago boss’s early years, is gearing up at the studio, although Warners is adamant that no discussions or offers to Yates have happened.

With the glut of comic book movies, reboots, remakes, sequels, prequels and freakin’ board games on the horizon, a jaunt into the Depression-era world of bootlegging, cigar-chomping, tough-talking mobsters sounds like a breath of fresh air. During the Golden Age of cinema, Warner Bros. was famous for it’s hard-as-nails mob flicks (like Cagney in White Heat or Bogey in High Sierra, both classics). It’s fun to see the studio exploring the best of it’s past.

Would you see either of these films? Are you a fan of old-school 40’s gangster flicks? Why the hell not?

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