'Gangster Squad' Shows LA's Finest

Cop-turned-screenwriter Will Beall faces the thin-blue-line edit

When Gangster Squad was postponed from its original fall 2012 release date in the wake of last summer's Aurora, Colorado, movie-theater shooting, Beall and Fleischer quickly mobilized to devise a new sequence to replace a violent mob-ambush scene set inside Grauman's Chinese Theatre (and glimpsed briefly in the first Gangster Squad trailers). "The decision to get rid of that scene was not one that we entered into lightly, but I think everybody felt it was the right thing to do," Beall says. "And I think it's actually a better movie with the new scene"—a scene, appropriately enough, set in Chinatown.

So what's ultimately more adrenalin-pumping: Making arrests or making movies? "I joke sometimes that I think something terrible happened to me when I was a cop, and this is all some kind of Jacob's Ladder coma dream or something," he says with a laugh. "But it's a different kind of excitement. I feel like these are the two most exciting industries in Los Angeles, and I'm lucky enough to have spent some time in both. It's hard for me to answer that question because I was a cop for a little more than 10 years, and the writing is still fairly new, but I'm having a lot of fun."

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