Ryan Gosling Plays an Honest Cop in ‘Gangster Squad’
Set in Los Angeles, 1949, “Gangster Squad” revolves around ruthless Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) who runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and—if he has his way—every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop…except, perhaps, LAPD outsider by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin).
To take out Cohen, O’Mara will have to work closely with a team, and the chief charges him with pulling together the roster. “He recruits a bunch of misfits like himself,” says Brolin, “guys in lowly or outsider positions because of their rebellious natures, but who are able to get the job done, sometimes in a very brutal way.”
The first man he reaches out to is Sgt. Jerry Wooters, a loner of a different sort, played by Ryan Gosling. “Up till now, O’Mara’s been banging his head against a wall, getting knocked around and arresting guys who get out just hours later, while my character looks on from a barstool on the sidelines,” Gosling offers. “Jerry also came back from the war to find the whole town under water, but, as he says in the film, O’Mara picked up a bucket while he picked up a bathing suit.”
Which is why Wooters initially turns O’Mara down. “He’s not trying to be a hero,” the actor continues. “He doesn’t have any fantasies about that. I think he feels like he did his fighting overseas, and there’s so much corruption here, it seems pointless. He’s just trying to stay above it, and stay alive.”
“The guys of the so-called `gangster squad’ have been forced into a situation where, because everyone around them has become complacent or worse, it’s tough to be on the right side of the law,” adds Gosling. “A few of them decide they’re not going to stand around and watch while their city is taken over, they’re going to take matters into their own hands. Some because they can’t stand the injustice and feel compelled to right the wrongs, and others, like the character I play, because it’s become personal.”
“Ryan is so charismatic, so fun to watch,” director Ruben Fleischer says. “He really brought dimension to this guy who’s become so disengaged, who just wants to get lost in drink and women. That is, until something terrible happens that lays this new war at his feet, and he realizes that by sitting this one out, it’s costing the city, and he has an obligation as a person and a policeman to do something about it.”
“Wooters isn’t picked for the squad because he’s a great shot or a good fighter or a technician,” Gosling adds. “He’s there because he has good instincts and knows how to survive.”
But Jerry Wooters has another motive for keeping a close eye on Cohen: Grace Faraday (Emma Stone), the mobster’s current piece of arm candy. Despite the obvious risk, Wooters finds her irresistible, and Grace is not immune to his charms, either.
Ryan Gosling has been honored for his work in a broad range of roles in both acclaimed independent features and major motion pictures. In 2012, he earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, for his role opposite Steve Carell and Emma Stone in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” and another for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, for his work in George Clooney’s “Ides of March.”
That same year, Gosling was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead and a Critics Choice Award for Best Actor for his work in the action drama “Drive,” directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. In 2010, he starred opposite Michelle Williams in the romantic drama “Blue Valentine,” for which he earned another Golden Globe nomination, and his third Critics Choice Award nomination for Best Actor. He previously received Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® and Critics Choice Award nominations for his work in the title role of the indie film “Lars and the Real Girl.” He earned an Academy Award® nomination and won an Independent Spirit Award, both for Best Actor, for his performance in the 2006 release “Half Nelson.”
Opening across the Philippines on Jan. 30, “Gangster Squad” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
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