How did this idea come up for The Gangster Squad?
The city that we love today is relatively safe. It’s a beautiful city, something for everyone. You know, the city has a lot of ethnic diversity, people that really get along. But back then, the mob was dominant and taking over New York, they were taking over Chicago. Bugsy Siegel, the mob boss, had sent over Mickey Cohen to take over LA, the next target. And I just love the idea that these guys [Gangster Squad] were unsung heroes. The focus of my company is to make hero stories. We did that with Sherlock Holmes, we did that with [Terminator] Salvation. Those were different kinds of hero stories. These heroes, if they succeeded, Chief Parker (Nick Nolte) was going to get all the glory. If they failed, no one would know who they were, but yet these guys still stepped up and decided to take on one of the most dangerous mobsters of all time, and I thought that was a very noble choice making for a very great hero story.
Who do you think would win a brawl between Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling?
I don’t know who would win, but you wouldn’t want to watch it. It would be brutal. You guys have seen Josh and how strong he is, and that final fight sequence between him and Sean Penn, that boxing, that’s all done practical. Those guys were practicing for a long time, and they, Josh had a gym, a portable gym that we had on set. I know those guys are all dressed very nicely, wearing dress shirts and ties, but underneath, those guys are ripped. You can really even tell with Sean Penn. He’s completely ripped. Both guys took it very seriously, and Ruben Fleischer had always said from the beginning I wanna play this very visceral guys. We’re not using stuntmen. We’re using you guys. And so, Josh is physically very imposing, but you can’t count out Ryan as well. He’s, even in his character, he’s very clever, very wiley. He knows he might not be the best shooter, but he knows other ways to take down the bad guys. It’s hard to say who wins, their fighting styles are so different. But I know no matter what, you wouldn’t want to see those two go at it because they’re both fiery personalities.
Was there ever a time in your life where you had to fight anyone or anything to get something back?
I think every day. Every day, as a producer in this business, you hear no every day. And part of that is how do you get past no to succeed. Because I think these days it’s very very difficult. There are fewer movies being made, and it’s really competitive at the box office. So you hear no a lot, so for me it’s always how do I get past no. To share your vision with somebody, you have to help the person on the other side see your vision whether it’s myself as a producer trying to convince the studio to buy Gangster Squad as a newspaper article so I can explain to them what the movie is or even if, you know, Ruben Fleischer and myself, trying to get an actor to play the move. You have to have them understand what your vision of the movie is. And so I think the fight is always, it’s really easy for people to say no. People are really busy. Sometimes people don’t want to take risks. Sometimes they just don’t get what your vision is. So the fight every day is how do you get past…how do you get past no.
If you could transform into any character from any of the movies that you’ve worked on or are working on, who would you be and why?
You know, I worked on Justice League a few years ago. I’m not working on it right now, but obviously because of that experience, I love Batman. He’d be my fantasy character to play because he saved his city of Gotham but also he goes away and lives his own life. He really doesn’t want to take the glory. He wants the police chief and the city of Gotham to be safe, but he doesn’t want to take the glory. He wants to go away and live his own life. So for me it’s Batman.
What is your favorite Asian comfort food?
Oh my gosh, where do I start? Um, favorite Asian comfort food. Uh, probably beef noodle soup. I just went to Taiwan and was on a search for the best beef noodle soup. Totally unhealthy for you. That’s what I love, a warm bowl of beef noodle soup that’s just slightly salty with the right hopefully handmade noodles and the beef that’s you know slightly tender and only slightly fatty.
The Gangster Squad is in theatres NOW