Warner Bros. is currently in negotiations with Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer to develop their new film Gangster Squad. Ben Affleck was in talks to direct the movie at one point, but I guess things didn't work out.
This sounds like it's going to be a great movie. I was excited for it when I first heard the news that it was being made. I think it's great that Fleischer is going to come on board to direct it. There's no doubt that the guy is talented, so I'm looking forward to seeing what he does with the story.
The movie will be based on a series of articles in The Los Angeles Times written by Paul Lieberman back in 2008. The articles examine an LAPD unit that's set up in the 1940s to fend off the growing influence of the East Coast Mafia in the city. The police group ended up becoming very powerful, and the battles with the Mafia escalated, leading to mayhem and betrayals. The LAPD unit was a secret "off the record" police task force who went after Meyer Harris "Mickey" Cohen, a high-profile gangster who was a member of the "Jewish Mafia".
Cohen started out as hired muscle for Al Capone in Chicago, but blossomed as a mogul after being sent to Los Angeles by Murder, Inc. kingpin Meyer Lansky to surveille Bugsy Siegel, who Cohen helped set up the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas and ran it's sports betting operation. He also ran a panoply of L.A. businesses, presumably as fronts to launder money — including floral shops, paint stores, nightclubs, casinos, gas stations, a haberdashery, and an ice cream parlor — before getting busted for tax evasion in 1950 and serving four years in federal prison.
Up-and-coming screenwriter Will Beall was hired to write the script for Gangster Squad. He is a former police officer and the author of a novel called L.A. Rex, which he's also helping develop into a feature film for producer Scott Rudin.
You've got to read this series of articles over at the LA Times, this is an absolutely incredible story. It's titled Crusaders in the underworld: The LAPD take on organized crime, and here is the opening of the story...
The Gangster Squad was formed in 1946 to keep East Coast Mafia out of L.A. Its 'anything goes' approach endured through the 1950s in an era when justice was found far from the courthouse.
This is going to make one hell of an awesome movie! What do you think?