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Variety reports ‘Breaking Bad’ star Bryan Cranston is in negotiations to join the cast of “The Gangster Squad,  a crime story about the LAPD  trying to keep the east coast Mafia out of LA.  Actor Sean Penn has been cast as mobster Mickey Cohen, along with Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Michael Pena and Anthony Mackie.  read the story

Ruben Fleischer (“Zombieland”) is helming from a script by former Los Angeles Police Dept. officer Will Beall.

Cranston will portray Max Kennard, a laconic LAPD officer from Texas who enforces the law ambitiously. The “Breaking Bad” star also recently booked a role in Ben Affleck’s hostage-rescue thriller “Argo” at Warner Bros., as Variety first reported Tuesday.

Dan Lin and Kevin McCormick are producing through Lin Pictures and Langley Park, respectively; Jon Silk, of Lin Pictures, is co-producing.

Project is based on the Los Angeles Times’ seven-part series “Tales From the Gangster Squad,” to which Warner acquired the rights two years ago. The articles, penned by Paul Lieberman, chronicled the LAPD’s struggle with increasing crime and corruption in the 1940s by forming the Gangster Squad to keep East Coast organized crime figures out of Los Angeles.

Cranston, who’s repped by UTA, is currently filming New Line’s “Rock of Ages” and Sony’s “Total