There are some are some extremely surprising movies that have comic book or graphic novel origins. David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence is one. The best vampire movie 30 Days of Night was also based on a comic book. Several excellent movies with young women protagonists including Tamara Drewe, Diary of a Teenage Girl, and Blue is the Warmest Color all arose from comics. And one of the most surprising is Sam Mendes’ 1930s gangster crime thriller movie Road to Perdition starring Paul Newman and Tom Hanks.
2002’s Road to Perdition also stars Superman actor Tyler Hoechlin as Hanks’ teenaged son. Paul Newman plays the man who raised Tom Hanks’ character, and Daniel Craig plays his biological son. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays Hanks’ wife and Jude Law plays a killer-for-hire.
It’s surprisingly dark and gritty for a Tom Hanks movie, with plenty of violence and profanity. The language was actually something that the author of the comic book struggled with in the adaptation, not because of being prudish but because he didn’t think it was historically accurate.
Speaking at SDCC in 2002, writer Max Allan Collins said that he stayed out of the Road to Perdition screenplay because he “respects the process” of writing a film, though he was happy to offer advice when asked for it. “There’s a few things I could have improved, but basically I really liked what they did. Most of what I tried to get changed was the inaccuracies out of the script – there’s a few still in there, like I think the F-word is in there too much.”
He continued; “Those who know my work know I’m not a prude about using the F-word but this is 1931 and these guys have not seen a lot of Martin Scorsese films, so they don’t know to use the F-word every 30 seconds.”