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Two sequels to the fantastic and woefully underrated 2002 Tom Hanks film Road to Perdition were announced way back in 2008, and then nothing ever seemed to come of it. It should have been easy to get done. The original movie made a $181 million worldwide and only cost $80 million to make. There was a little profit there, and for the sequels they wouldn’t have had to pay big money to bring back actors like Tom Hanks and Jude Law since, almost everyone of consequence in the first movie was dead by the end. Better still the material for sequels already existed. The film was based on the first in a series of graphic novels written by Max Allan Collins. Yet somehow, the thing seemed to go nowhere.
Until now that is. Things may be moving again. Max Collins tells Movieweb that they “seem to be right on the brink” of signing a deal to get more movies done. So what was the hold up? He sort of hints in the interview that he was trying to get them to let him direct the film, even though his directorial experience is limited to a few mostly unseen and unheralded indie films. In short he wanted a lot more control over the movie version of his work than they were willing to give him. Now it sounds like he’s given up some of that control, he says he won’t direct, though if it gets done the two sequels will be based on a script written by him.
None of that’s exactly good news. Road to Perdition was based on Collins' great source material, yes, but the screenplay was written by someone else and it was directed by Sam Mendes working at the peak of his considerable directorial powers. It’s unlikely they’ll get Mendes, of course, but the formula that worked before was letting someone else play around in the universe Collins created. Presumably he had some input, but now it sounds like he’ll have a lot more input and almost no one who was really involved in making the first movie, cast, screenwriter, director, or anyone, will have anything to do with the new movies. They’ll likely bear no resemblance to Road to Perdition, and as a fan of the first movie, that pretty much kills any interest I might have in these sequels.
It’s a shame, because I’d like to be excited about them. Collins says the sequels would be set ten years after the events of Road to Perdition, with the first to be based on Road to Purgatory. In it a now adult Michael O’Sullivan Jr. returns from World War II to enter his father’s former underworld of organized crime. That could be good, but it’ll never be Tom Hanks, Jude Law, Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes, and Paul Newman good.