Stone instantly fell for the story when she read the screenplay. “It had such a romantic and smoky and nostalgic feel, with a lot of intense action and suspense,” she says. “I immediately felt that I knew what it must have been like to be a part of that place and time.”
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, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart.
But Jerry Wooters has another motive for keeping a close eye on Cohen: Grace Faraday (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.
Emma Stone was drawn to the role and eager to work with director Ruben Fleischer again, having starred in his film “Zombieland.” Stone says, “We sat down and talked about the story and the character, and I said, ‘Of course, let’s do this together.’ I love Ruben, he’s so enthusiastic and his shots are so beautiful.”
Stone points out that her character, an entirely fictional creation of screenwriter Will Beall, “moved out to Hollywood to be a star. Not an actress, a star.” Clearly, things didn’t go according to plan. “I imagined she kind of fell in with Mickey Cohen’s crowd, and that being on the arm of this incredibly powerful man gave her the admiration she was looking for, so she convinced herself it was alright. Now, even though she feels trapped, she knows that, without him, she’s got maybe a couple of bucks between her and the street.”
“Emma is not only one of the smartest, funniest actresses I’ve worked with, she’s also somebody you can’t take your eyes off of when she’s onscreen, and that kind of allure is really what this part called for,” Fleischer says. “The love triangle between Grace, Mickey and Jerry is tricky—you’re not quite sure what each one’s motivations are. But both she and Wooters are looking for a way out, and each finds a kindred spirit in the other. They have a spark that ignites, and neither one can ignore it, dangerous as it is not to.”
Emma Stone is one of Hollywood’s most sought-out young actresses, having garnered both critical and audience acclaim for her starring role in “The Help,” for which Stone also received a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® and the National Board of Review Award as part of the ensemble cast in the adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s New York Times best-selling novel. Stone previously earned rave reviews as Olive in Will Gluck’s comedy “Easy A,” and her performance in The Scarlet Letter update also earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, as well as an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance and a nomination for the BAFTA Rising Star Award.
She most recently took on the coveted role of Gwen Stacy in Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” opposite Andrew Garfield in the title role, and will soon be at work on the sequel, due in 2014. She co-starred in director Gluck’s “Friends with Benefits,” alongside Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, and with Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell in the comedy “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”
Opening across the Philippines on January 30, “Gangster Squad” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.