Bryan Cranston Cast in ‘Gangster Squad’

What did I just say hours ago about Bryan Cranston being on a tear? He’s just in the process of taking a role in Argo, the new film that Ben Affleck will direct. And now he’s in talks for Gangster Squad, a film that Ben Affleck was offered to direct before Argo came into being.

Variety reports the Gangster Squad news, saying that he would play Max Kennard, “a laconic LAPD officer from Texas who enforces the law ambitiously.”

He’ll join his Drive co-star Ryan Gosling in Gangster Squad, which also features the talents of Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Michael Pena and Anthony Mackie. Will Beall wrote the script based on Paul Lieberman‘s series of LA Times articles that chronicled the efforts of a special LAPD unit tasked with staunching the flow of organized crime into LA in the ’40s. Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) directs.

Gansgster Squad is a promising project for a few reasons. From the moment Warner Bros. put the film into motion, it was pitched as an actors piece rather than a setpiece-based tentpole. The cast assembled so far is a testament to that fact. And then there is the fact that this is the sort of movie that everyone always says studios don’t make any more. And, for the most part, they don’t. Stuff like The Wettest County in the World and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy — similar ensemble thrillers with an ambitious bent — get made outside studios and then picked up for distribution. The fact that Warner Bros. is backing this from day one, hopefully with the budget muscle appropriate to recreating ’40s LA on a broad canvas, is impressive.

And the idea of seeing the team of Gosling, Brolin, Cranston and Mackie as cops going up against Sean Penn’s version of classic LA mob figure Mickey Cohen? That’s too good to resist.

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