How does one follow up the tough task of playing a philosophy-spouting, hat-wearing spiritual guide in the underrated The Adjustment Bureau? If you are Anthony Mackie, you go gangster.

Mackie, who also earned an Indie Spirit nomination for playing Jeremy Renner’s right-hand man in Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, has been added to the impressive Gangster Squad ensemble at Warner Bros., according to Variety. He’ll co-star alongside Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and Michael Pena in a period police thriller based on actual events surrounding an LAPD bureau created specifically to combat East Coast mobsters who were heading west. The trade says Mackie will play LAPD lieutenant Rocky Washington.

Even if Gangster, directed by Zombieland helmer Ruben Fleischer, comes off as a B-level L.A. Confidential, it will be a project worth tracking. The cast is spectacular, and the ripped-from-the-headlines gambit works even when those headlines are decades old. Plus, the popularity of the crime-solving L.A. Noire video game proves there is an audience hungry for these types of stories, providing they are handled properly. As for Mackie, you can rent his Adjustment Bureau later this month, and see him alongside Hugh Jackman in the robot boxing drama Real Steel later this year.

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