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Ruben Fleischer to Direct Warner Bros.' 'Gangster Squad'

Ruben Fleischer is going gangster.

The Zombieland director will helm Warner Bros’ period cop movie Gangster Squad, pending working out where to fit a sequel to Columbia’s hit zombie movie.

Gangster is based on a seven-part Los Angeles Times article written by Paul Lieberman centered on how in the 1940s, amid corruption and chaos, the LAPD created a unit called the Gangster Squad to keep the East Coast mafia out of the city.

Dan Lin and Kevin McCormick are producing while Lin Pictures’ Jon Silk is co-producing. Will Beall wrote the latest draft.

Warners had been on a manhunt for a director, briefly flirting with Darren Aronofsky before meeting with contenders Scott Cooper, the director of Crazy Heart, Jose Padilha, the helmer behind the Brazilian cop movie Elite Squad, and Fleischer.

Going period, and more dramatic, will be a new road for Fleischer, who hopped from the $24 million-budgeted contemporary undead action-comedy Zombieland to 30 Minutes or Less, his upcoming action comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari. The move will also open up Fleischer to a bigger budget range and bigger stars.

Fleischer is repped by UTA.