Could British director Sam Mendes be in line for another Oscar? The word is he's a very strong contender for Road To Perdition, which is released nationwide on September 27th.
Mendes worked alongside 75-year-old cinematographer Conrad L Hall and father/son producers Richard and Dean Zanuck to create this magnificent film set in 1931 Depression-era Chicago.
Mendes said that there were several elements that attracted him to the project, beginning with the script.
David Self had made some clever additions to the graphic novel, but it remained an incredibly simple, powerful story.
"At its heart, there was the father/son relationship, but it was also a serious gangster movie set in what I consider to be the last mythic American landscapethe 1930s, the Depression era, when there was still space to lose yourself in the vastness of America
when there were mystical golden cities rising up, like Chicago. So there was this amazingly varied and enormous canvas on which to tell the story.
"And, as a narrative, it had a very clear linear drive. It didnt stop; it moved relentlessly forward, and it had this fascinating central character who is morally ambivalent.
"As an audience, we dont know if this is somebody whowithout wanting to be too simplisticis a good man or a bad man from the beginning of the story to the end.
Sam Mendes refers to Conrad L. Hall as my central working relationship.
I cant even describe how attached Ive become to him and how immensely grateful I am to him, Mendes says. In the midst of the chaos and the siege mentality that happens on a movie set, when Conrad puts his eye to the eyepiece of the camera, magic begins to happen.
"If you ask him how he knows where to point the camera, hell tell you, I point it at the story.
"But its more than that; his artistry with light adds a dimension to the story that you could not have imagined. There is no such thing as an unimportant shot for him, and so he can drive you mad spending longer to light than you ever expected. But when youre in the screening room, you thank God every day for Conrad Hall.