Giovanni Ribisi has joined the cast of Warner Bros' The Gangster Squad, Deadline reports. He will play Conway Keeler, "a cop in the group who is a master of electronics and wires." Ruben Fleischer is directing based on a script written by Will Beall, a former Los Angeles Police officer. Sean Penn will play Mickey Cohen, and Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin as members of the elite cop squad that are after him in 1949 Los Angeles. The cast also includes Anthony Mackie, Michael Pena and Bryan Cranston.
The film is based on the series of articles over at the LA 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.
Ribisi is currently shooting Universal's Ted and next appears in FilmDistrict's The Rum Diary opposite Johnny Depp. I think that he is a great addition to the film. What are your thoughts on this news?
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