Sam Mendes‘  Road to Perdition failed to live up to box office expectations, but is notable for a few reasons: It was Mendes’ sophomore follow-up to the critically-acclaimed breakout hit American Beauty, babyface star Tom Hanks was playing a “bad guy,” and it was one of the first comic book adaptations which strayed as far you you can from the capes and superpower realm. The film was not a huge financial success, although the movie is still regarded by some as “a beautiful and criminally underappreciated film.”

Ever since it’s release we;ve been hearing rumbling of a possible sequel. In November 2008, it was reported that Max Allan Collins, the man behind the original series of Road to Perdition comics, has been hired to write two sequels to Perdition, called Road to Purgatory and Road to Paradise, for JBM Productions (which has produced films as Leprecaun and Angel Eyes) and EMO Films. According to the report, Road to Purgatory would follow the character of Michael Sullivan, Jr., the son of Tom Hanks’ character in the original film, “who returns from World War II with a new determination to avenge his murdered father.”

“His quest ultimately leads him to Frank Nitti, whom he is urged to kill on the orders of Al Capone. The second sequel will follow Sullivan’s continued plight.”

We haven’t heard anything about the project for the last two years, and I was beginning to believe that it had fallen into development heck. We now have a new report which claims the the project is almost ready to move to the next stage.

Collins tells MovieWeb:

Well, I can only tease, I’m afraid. We seem to be right on the brink, or maybe it’s the precipice, I don’t know (Laughs), of a deal being signed. Things have gotten very, very serious and I have, for years, held onto it as a project I would direct, because I have directed five independent films. It does look like, now, that I won’t be directing, but it is my script. That’s the most important thing to me, that the material be faithfully rendered. That isn’t to say that you have to do it absolutely faithfully. There certainly are differences between my graphic novel and Road to Perdition, but the spirit of the story is there. Mendes really got it and understood it and, I think that, in some ways, enhanced it.

When asked who would direct, Collins responded:

“I don’t know. We’ve been approached and the offer seems to be very, very serious. We have signed a round of paper but it is not nailed down yet and it looks to be pretty interesting. I will tell you that this will happen about 10 years after Perdition ends. Michael is 10 years older in Road to Purgatory.”

I would expect Sam Mendes to return, nor would I welcome his presence in the director’s chair on a sequel. Collins’ IMDB resume primarily consists of some small films, and writing credits on a few high-profile television shows. Road to Purgatory will be dedicated to Paul Newman.

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