British wunderkind director Sam Mendes will return to DreamWorks SKG for his second film after his Oscar winning debut American Beauty. He will direct megastar Tom Hanks in The Road To Perdition, a film adaptation of a 1930s gangster comic strip novel by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayners. Mendes and Hanks' US agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) confirmed that the film will be the next project for both.

The film, which has been scripted by David Self, is the story of a man in depression era Chicago who is a hitman by day and upstanding husband and father by night.

Producer on the project is veteran Richard D Zanuck whose credits include Jaws and Jaws 2, Driving Miss Daisy, The Verdict, Cocoon and more recently Deep Impact and Rules Of Engagement.

Tom Hanks will be seen this Christmas in Robert Zemeckis' Cast Away from 20th Century Fox (domestic rights) and DreamWorks (international rights through Universal/UIP) and is widely expected to win his fifth Oscar nomination for his role.