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L.A. Noir: 'The Gangster Squad'

In

Warner Bros.

' upcoming action

drama

"The Gangster Squad," based on a series of

Los Angeles Times

articles,

Josh Brolin

plays John O'Mara, a Los Angeles police officer in an elite unit devoted to cleaning up the city's criminal element, specifically targeting a mobster operation run by Mickey Cohen (

Sean Penn

) — the movie's ensemble cast also features

Ryan Gosling

,

Emma Stone

,

Nick Nolte

,

Giovanni Ribisi

and

Anthony Mackie

, among others.

Brolin learned a lot about the film's 1940s setting from his father, actor

James Brolin

, and from stories he read about the real-life officers of the era.

"These guys were pretty brutal back then," he said recently, sitting outside City Hall, where he was shooting scenes for the Warner Bros. film, set to open Oct. 19. "I had this idea of how innocent it was back then, and then you hear that because there is no Internet, no

iPhone

, because there is none of that, you could get away with a lot of stuff, and they would."

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