Gangster Squad won’t rise to the top of anyone’s favorite gangster movie list, but it’s definitely an enjoyable film. A lot of that has to do with Josh Brolin, who plays Sgt. John O’Mara, the leader of the titular squad who strikes back against Los Angeles gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). Curiously, Brolin passed on the Cohen role before taking the O’Mara role, and he talks to Moviefone about working with his friend Penn on the film (the two also worked together in Milk) and what he feels about his tremendous success in film over the last few years.
The climax of the film involves a punch-for-punch fight between Brolin and Penn, which Brolin admits he wouldn’t have done with just anyone. He explains, “I was happy that it was Sean because I trust him. There’s some people I wouldn’t trust in that situation. I was very, very happy that it was him because he didn’t want to fight. Some people can get so into it that you end up actually kind of fighting and you don’t want to do that in that kind of situation, especially if you’re working all night and it’s three o’clock in the morning and it’s your third day and you’re frickin’ tired beyond belief and you slip up and someone punches you… But we didn’t have any of that, luckily. I’m very happy the way it turned out.”
Brolin has had a particularly successful run in film since 2007’s No Country for Old Men, but Brolin doesn’t want that success to discount the work he did before 2007. He says, “I feel like I did some really great work in theater before this. A success stride, yes. I was never [this]successful, but that’s a different thing. I’m very fortunate in that I get choice now, where I never had choice before. I did, but on a much smaller scale. I’m getting to work with people I’ve always wanted to work with.”