Sean Penn is in negotiations with Warner Bros. to star in Gangster Squad, a crime drama to be directed by Zombieland helmer Ruben Fleischer. In the film, which was written by Will Beall (TV's Castle, the Logan's Run remake), Penn will reportedly play Mickey Cohen, a flashy Los Angeles mobster trying to evade capture by the police. Additionally, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin are attached to the roles of two police offers assigned to investigate Cohen.
Flesicher made a big splash when Zombieland turned out to be a box office hit, and he followed it up quickly with 30 Minutes or Less, a crime comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari and Danny McBride, and Zombieland 2, which hasn't begun shooting yet. Assuming the film will offer a straightforward take on Cohen's life, the project will be the filmmaker's first foray into more serious fare. That said, Harvey Keitel netted an Oscar nomination for playing Cohen in Barry Levinson's Bugsy, which offered a tough but frequently funny portrayal of the infamous gangster. Meanwhile, Penn's versatility and gravitas seems like a natural fit for Cohen, who reportedly was very charismatic but whose mood could change on a dime.