What do up-and-coming directors Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) and Jose Padilha (Elite Squad) have in common? They are the top contenders being looked at by Warner Bros. to helm the upcoming Tales From the Gangster Squad. As unorthodox as it may sound, I applaud the studio for actually thinking outside the box on this one. At this point, though, Warner Bros. really has no choice, seeing how previous top-contenders Ben Affleck and Darren Aronofsky turned them down in favor of pursuing other projects – the latter opting for Wolverine 2.
Still, the idea of Fleischer directing a high-profile gangster epic described by producer Dan Lin to the LA Times as “the Untouchables on the streets of LA” is actually quite intriguing, to say the least – the man can do action and comedy. Cooper has been mentioned in conjunction with the project before, along with directors Paul Greengrass, Francis Lawrence, and even Martin Campbell. Former L.A. cop Will Beall (Castle) penned the screenplay, which centers on Sgt. John O’Mara and his attempts to bring down the gangster Micky Cohen in the late 1940s. More after the jump.
I gotta say, I’m still bummed that Affleck passed this one up. After the one-two punch of Gone Baby Gone and, more appropriately, The Town, a film centering around cops n’ robbers set in 1940s LA sounds like a perfect fit for the guy.
That being said, I like where Warner Bros.’ head is at – eyeballing relative unknowns for a hefty project like Gangster Squad is a gutsy move. Such a tactic worked wonders for their Batman saga, granted Christopher Nolan had Memento and Insomnia under his belt, both of which are light years ahead of both Zombieland and Crazy Heart (I haven’t seen Elite Squad). Still, there’s always a chance one of these boys might surprise us – here’s to hoping.