Archive for August, 2002

Message from M.A.C. – August 1, 2002

Thursday, August 1st, 2002

I hope you’ve all had a chance to see ROAD TO PERDITION, the incredible film Sam Mendes has fashioned from my graphic novel. A few fans have complained about changes Mendes and screenwriter David Self have made, but I am entirely comfortable with what I think are intelligent and in some cases necessary modifications.

The graphic novel was originally structured to appear in three manga-style issues; it never did appear in that form, but it bears that structure. For that reason, the graphic novel has many more action set pieces than the film; and the numerous hit men pursuing O’Sullivan and son were rolled up into one character, Maguire, the evil Weegee-like photographer…a great creation of David Self’s. This provides the screenplay with a secondary villain and suits the structural spine of the film. I approve and applaud it.

The emphasis on the father and son relationship between Rooney and Sullivan (Looney and O’Sullivan in my book) is an apt one — very effective, deepening the piece. That Looney and O’Sullivan had a father-and-son relationship is implied in the book; but Self and Mendes rightly hit it on the nose, using the wake sequence to cinematically express some rather straightforward exposition from the graphic novel.

The toning down of the violence also was a good idea, particularly in light of the somber approach that Mendes and his brilliant cinematographer, Conrad Hall, took. Nonetheless, the violence is stark and disturbing — not unlike what I’ve done in my Nate Heller and Quarry novels — and appropriate to the tone. I ask my fans this — would you rather have had a movie with all my action set pieces, but starring, say, Jean Claude Van Damme or maybe Jeff Speakman? I don’t think so.

In fact, the film seems to me to encapsulate everything I’ve done in mystery fiction for going on thirty years — Dick Tracy and Junior are reflected in the two Michaels; then there’s the father-and-son relationship between Nolan and Jon, as well as the bank robbery aspect; the historical approach of Nate Heller (Stanley Tucci IS my Frank Nitti!); the honorable hitman of Quarry; the revenge motif of Ms. Tree; the child and murderous parent theme of MOMMY. It’s all there.

As for the changed ending…I will tell you this: at the after-premiere party in New York, the first thing Steven Spielberg said to me was: “The only thing I don’t like about Sam’s movie is that he didn’t use your ending.” Obviously, I would tend to agree…and my ending was part of Self’s screenplay. But the ending of the film does work, and — since my ending is not played out — Michael and his father MUST exchange roles in that climatic scene, just as Mendes shot it.

There’s been an incredible (and surprising) amount of attention paid to me and the graphic novel, and you may have seen the ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY profile or perhaps the USA Today or Associated Press pieces. Many mentions in reviews, too — some preferring the graphic novel to the movie, and talking about the book in depth. Most reviews have been great, and speak of Oscars at year’s end.

So go see the movie while it’s still in theaters — the visuals (and the wonderful music) deserve the big screen, big sound system treatment.

In the meantime, the news is this: I’ve signed to do two ROAD TO PERDITION sequels for William Morrow (publisher of WINDTALKERS). They will be novels, not graphic novels, though the latter may eventually follow as well. I’m discussing a separate graphic novel — an episodic look at the father and son’s time on the road together — with Marvel; the hope is that Richard Piers Rayner can be involved.

Other news: I’ve just signed to do two more CSI novels (the second will be out in October: SIN CITY) (not my title — mine was the wonderful but politically incorrect DEAD NUDE GIRLS). I’ve delivered the I SPY novel, and am working on the second DARK ANGEL (SKIN GAME) with the first due around October, also (BEFORE THE DAWN). Matthew V. Clemens continues to work with me on the CSI and DARK ANGEL books as researcher and co-plotter.

Watch also for THE LUSITANIA MURDERS around the same time.

Some comics work in the pipeline: I’m halfway through a massive BATMAN graphic novel, CHILD OF DREAMS, drawn and co-plotted by SILENT MOBIEUS creator, Kia Asamiya — the first BATMANGA. I may also be doing a CSI comic book mini-series, and the serialized JOHNNY DYNAMITE mini-series, UNDERWORLD, is probably going to be pubbed as a graphic novel.

Speaking of which, the Pocket Books reprint of the original ROAD TO PERDITION graphic novel has hit the New York Times bestseller list!

Thanks for your interest and support. Nate and I will try to update this site more frequently. In the meantime, enjoy the PERDITION wallpaper!