sean penn josh brolin gangster squad image ew First Official Image From ‘The Gangster Squad’   Starring Sean Penn, Josh Brolin & Ryan Gosling

EntertainmentWeekly has released this first official image from Ruben Fleischer’s (30 Minutes or Less, Zombieland) highly-anticipated crime drama ‘The Gangster Squad.’ The film features a phenominal cast in Sean Penn, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Anthony Mackie, Robert Patrick, Michael Pena, Mireille Enos, Giovanni Ribisi, and Nick Nolte.

The drama, based on a series of articles by Paul Lieberman, is the fact-based tale of the crime fighting exploits of a squad of elite Los Angeles officers in the 1940s charged with stopping ruthless Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), who runs the show in Los Angeles, 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. Cohen 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, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart.

Speaking to EW, Ruben Fleischer revealed the basic premise for the film: “O’Mara (Josh Brolin), our lead character, has just come back from fighting the Nazis with all these ideals after seeing America at its greatest. And he’s come home and there’s a gangster running his city. While he was gone, Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) took over and he turned the streets of L.A. into a battle zone. In our story, O’ Mara takes the lead of the Gangster Squad, a vigilante police force that fights the gangsters on their own terms, and the battle between them is for the future of Los Angeles: whether it’s going to become corrupt and run by this bunch of gangsters or these guys who fought for these values and want L.A. to be the shining beacon on the west coast that it was always intended to be.”

Fleischer also opened up about Ryan Gosling’s character, who’s a little more rough around the edges than Brolin’s: “Ryan’s character also went to war, but when he came back, he was a little disillusioned. So he’s more on the fence, hanging out in nightclubs and hanging out with guys who might be gangsters. He’s less clear on where he stands in terms of standing up against Mickey Cohen. But he finds himself in a love triangle with Cohen and Emma Stone’s femme fatale character.”

Screenwriter Will Beall is a former South Central Los Angeles cop who wrote the novel ‘L.A. Rex.’ Shooting entirely in and around Los Angeles, including in many of the actual locations featured in the story, ‘The Gangster Squad’ is described as “a colorful retelling of events surrounding the LAPD’s efforts to take back their nascent city from one of the most dangerous mafia bosses of all time.”