The Arty Semite

Gangster Squad's Comedy Nerd

By Curt Schleier

Go to the photo section of director Ruben Fleischer’s website, and the first thing you see is a Dalmatian wearing a yarmulke and a tallit. It is a picture Fleischer took on his pet’s 13th birthday, the day, Fleischer jokes, the pooch became a man.

Getty Images

Photography is just one step in Fleischer’s peripatetic career, which includes stops in website design, commercials, music videos and film (“Zombieland” and “30 Minutes or Less”). And it is likely that his latest project will define his career.

It’s “Gangster Squad,” the big-budget national release starring Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and Emma Stone, with Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen. The film is about a secret squad of Los Angeles cops formed to break up the mobster’s hold on the city. “Gangster Squad” comes out January 11.

Despite his past success, Fleischer had to audition. He spoke to The Arty Semite about how he got the job, his take on Jewish gangsters and why he believes that not having a master plan in life is a good thing.

Curt Schleier: “Gangster Squad” is different from your first two films. What interested you in the project?

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