Road To Perdition - Another Oscar For Mendes?

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Another Oscar For Mendes?

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 landscape—the 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 didn’t stop; it moved relentlessly forward, and it had this fascinating central character who is morally ambivalent.

"As an audience, we don’t know if this is somebody who—without wanting to be too simplistic—is 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 can’t even describe how attached I’ve 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, he’ll tell you, ‘I point it at the story.’

"But it’s 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 you’re in the screening room, you thank God every day for Conrad Hall.”

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The Zanucks knew Mendes was perfect to helm Road to Perdition from their very first meeting with him. “The way he spoke about the story and his plans for the film, we felt the movie elevating before our very eyes,” Dean Zanuck states. “He had an extraordinary grasp of the material.”

Conrad L. Hall took home his most recent Oscar for his work on American Beauty, which marked his first collaboration with director Sam Mendes. He won his first Academy Award exactly three decades earlier for his work on George Roy Hill’s classic western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

Hall has also earned Oscar nominations for A Civil Action, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Tequila Sunrise, The Day of the Locust, In Cold Blood, The Professionals and Morituri.

He has been honoured by his peers with American Society of Cinematographers Awards for his work on American Beauty, Searching for Bobby Fischer and Tequila Sunrise; and won BAFTA Awards for American Beauty and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Release Date: Sept 20 (london) Sept 27 (nationwide)
Distributor: Fox
Cert: 15
Running Time: 116 mins

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1.Mendes and Hall interview:

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