Yes, I wrote Mickey Cohen, the book on the Los Angeles underworld that reveals the REAL STORIES of LA’s mob bosses, BUGSY SIEGEL and MICKEY COHEN. And, yes, I do plan to watch TNT’s MOB CITY beginning on Wed., Dec. 4. I’m curious! Is it more cops chasing gangsters in LA? It was really FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover himself who was at war with Benny Siegel in the year before the Bug’s execution in June 1947. That story is amazing — and you can only read it in my book.
After the disastrous Gangster Squad movie, in the summer of 2013 Mob City was granted an unprecedented extra shooting schedule that essentially gave them a chance to rework whatever they had already shot the year before. The kid playing Mickey Cohen looks like decent casting. Ed Burns as Benny Siegel? He’s married to supe Christy Turlington so he has something going on. Burns may be good; we shall see. To be correct, the actor should be OUTRAGEOUSLY handsome — not just good looking; dressed like a duke, Ben Siegel was extremely charismatic and charming, when necessary, with huge crystal blue eyes and he flashed a giant grin. Burt Lancaster-ish, no? Tony Curtis worked for years trying to play him, and would have been great. I reveal here for the first time that Benny Siegel had both Golden Age screen goddesses, Ava Gardner, and, Lana Turner, when they were very young. I don’t know what to expect, but I hope the Zombie guy, Frank Darabont, will deliver something historically correct. Remember: Truth is stranger than fiction.
UPDATE: In a generally positive review of MOB CITY, the New York Times says, “Mr. Darabont, rather than fiddling with the noir formula as [GANGSTER SQUAD] did, settles for executing it expertly.” Also, check out this interesting take at the Sunset Strip history site, Playground to the Stars, on Hollywood’s reflexive impulse to needlessly embellish Hollywood mob history.