Beloved vintage cars star in 'Gangster Squad'
This undated publicity photo released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows, from left, Ryan Gosling as Sgt. Jerry Wooters, Josh Broslin, as Sgt. John O’Mara, Michael Pena, as Officer Navidad Ramirez, Robert Patrick, as Officer Max Kennard, and Anthony Mackie, as Officer Coleman Harris, in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ drama, “Gangster Squad,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. To bring the story of mobster Mickey Cohen's reign over post-war Los Angeles to life, the director of “Gangster Squad” employed Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and more than 100 irreplaceable vintage American cars. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Wilson Webb)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — To bring the story of mobster Mickey Cohen's reign over post-war Los Angeles to life, the director of "Gangster Squad" employed Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and more than 100 irreplaceable vintage American cars.
There's the 1941 light blue Ford Deluxe Convertible that Gosling's character drives; the bulbous, bullet-nosed 1947 Ford sedans that served as police cars; the gorgeous black 1936 Oldsmobile convertible with a tan ragtop and the regal 1949 Packard Super 8 limousines that carried Cohen.
These rare beauties are stars themselves, bringing an authenticity and aesthetic charm to the screen that no computer graphics can match.
"These cars, they're as important as the buildings and clothing and makeup in establishing the time and place," said Leslie Kendall, chief curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, which has three cars from "Gangster Squad" on display this month. "If you want to lock a movie scene in, use the right car and they will immediately get it."
In this photo taken Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, car collector Chuck Shubb, 72, from Los Angeles, poses with his 1948 Packard Super 8 Touring Sedan, one of several cars featured in the film, "Gangster Squad," in Los Angeles. To bring the story of mobster Mickey Cohen’s reign over post-war Los Angeles to life, the director of “Gangster Squad” employed Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and more than 100 irreplaceable vintage American cars. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Picture car coordinator Tim Woods spent 12 weeks working with "Gangster Squad" director Ruben Fleischer to get the automotive look of 1949 Los Angeles just right. A few of the vintage cars came from Woods' own personal collection. He called on Southern California car collectors (and a few local junkyards) for the rest.
Most of the cars in the movie were lovingly loaned by private owners, many of whom drove the priceless vehicles during filming.
"It's always good to have the owner of the vehicle to drive the car, because it's their baby," said Woods, 50, whose 1946 Chevy pickup, 1947 Ford sedan and (Gosling's) 1941 Ford Deluxe Convertible play roles on screen.
Garvin Kotzin, 63, lent two of his babies to the film, including that rare '36 Olds (only 32 made). The retired entrepreneur showed off the vintage convertible recently on a dusty lot in a suburban Los Angeles neighborhood.