EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has begun negotiations with Zombieland‘s Ruben Fleischer to direct Gangster Squad, the 40s crime drama that is regarded as one of the hotter scripts in the studio’s arsenal. The film is set in the 40s and  50s and is the fact-based tale by a squad of elite Los Angeles officers who fought organized crime kingpins like Mickey Cohen.  It has been compared in tone to period crime films like The Untouchables and L.A. Confidential. The film is based on a series of articles by Paul Lieberman and was scripted by Will Beall, a former South Central Los Angeles cop who wrote the novel L.A. Rex. The project has had such hot directors as Ben Affleck and Darren Aronofsky giving it serious consideration, as well as Fleischer. Dan Lin and Kevin McCormick are producing.

Fleischer made his feature directing debut with the 2009 corpse comedy Zombieland for Sony Pictures Entertainment, and that studio has done a good job keeping the rising star in the fold. The studio is developing a Zombieland sequel, acquired the project Babe in the Woods that has Fleischer attached, and is expected to acquire for distribution the MRC pic that Fleischer is currently directing, 30 Minutes or Less. Fleischer is repped by UTA.