The period crime drama also stars Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Josh Brolin and Nick Nolte.
It’s loosely based on a true story about an “off-the-books” squad of LAPD detectives unleashed to clean out East Coast mobsters who were taking over the City of Angels in the 1940s and 1950s.
LA boomed after World War II, presenting rich opportunities in drugs prostitution and gambling. Gangster Mickey Cohen (Penn) sets out to tie it all up in one neat little package.
Cohen was a real gangster and part of what was known as LA’s Jewish Mafia. He also had ties to the Italian Mafia. From the 1930s through the 1960s, he was a top organized crime boss and a cohort of Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Seigal and Al Capone.
Despite twice being busted for tax evasion, he died in his sleep in 1976. In his later years, he became an international celebrity, who was interviewed on television by CBS’s Mike Wallace.
“I’m not an educated man, but I’ve read some history,” says Cohen in the opening voiceover to the trailer. “Every kingdom comes up bloody. Every castle is built on a pile of bones.
“Back East, I was a gangster, out here, I’m a god,” he proclaims.
In real life, several attempts were made on Cohen’s life and he was accused of murdering several men, although he was never convicted for those crimes.
Brolin plays John O’Mara, a fictional character who heads the black-ops detective squad. He gets his marching orders from Nolte, who also plays a real life character, LA Police Chief William H. Parker.
Directed by “Zombieland’s” Ruben Fleischer, expect lots of gory action. The movie hits theaters on Nov. 9.
Check out the clip below.