Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in ‘Gangster Squad’/Photo © 2012 Warner Bros.
The fall 2012 adaptation lineup has us wildly excited. And how could it not? We’ve got “Cloud Atlas,” “Anna Karenina,” “Lincoln,” “Life of Pi” and more. It’s a veritable embarrassment of riches (not that we’re complaining). And it’s on this overwhelming abundance of highly anticipated movies that we blame our ignorance of the forthcoming mob movie from director Ruben Fleischer, “Gangster Squad.”
Now that we’re well into the third season of HBO’s Emmy-winning Atlantic City mob drama “Boardwalk Empire,” Tinsel Town feels secure that the goings-on of history’s most treacherous, deceitful — and one may argue intelligent — criminals are tucked into the attentions of the public. What better time to line up an all-star cast of Hollywood heavy hitters and head to the mafia lives of Los Angeles most corrupt gangsters and the cops who attempted to wrangle them?
“Gangster Squad” is based on the book Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles by Paul Lieberman. Lieberman tells the true story of the undercover police unit that went to war against L.A.-based mobster Mickey Cohen and his goons in 1946, leading to an eventual criminally wild implosion of both the mob and the LAPD. Lieberman’s book is based on more than a decade of research of and interviews with surviving members of the police unit and associates of the mobsters they pursued. Already, the movie’s sounding good. But wait — it gets way better than that, even.
Let’s talk casting. The two central cops are played by Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin. Our main mobster is none other than the ever-morphing Sean Penn. Every mob movie needs a Jessica Rabbit-esque vixen, who in this case is cast perfectly with Emma Stone, who beat out Lily Collins, Emmy Rossum, and Amanda Seyfried for the part. We know Stone is a fabulous actress in her own right, but in the simplest terms, following 2011′s “Crazy Stupid Love,” we also know that Stone plus Gosling equals crazy sexy fun. Finally, there’s Nick Nolte, who also seems to roll with the times (even when his times are less than, er, favorable).
We’ve had our fair share of mob movie adaptations in years past: “Donnie Brasco,” “Casino,” “Carlito’s Way,” “Goodfellas,” and of course “The Godfather.” The subject matter endlessly intrigues fans of all kinds of movies, though, and in our opinion, there’s usually room for another accountable addition to the lineup.