A forum reader sends very interesting information about "Road to Perdition."
The filmmakers decided to change the name of the character played by Newman to "Rooney" but the real person he's based on is Rock Island gangster John Looney, who controlled all the speakeasies and most all the brothels in Rock Island County & parts of Scott County in the 1920s. His gang ran the Bluebird Inn roadhouse where Bix liked to go to listen to black jazz musicians & jam with them in the after hours.
Road to Perdition author Max Allan Collins took liberties with the time period and moved Looney's reign into the 1930s. In reality, Looney was in prison by then. Al Capone was about the same age as John Looney's son--Connor Looney (played in the movie by Daniel Craig who has since taken over the James Bond role). Conner was shot dead in a gang turf war. Looney was said to have slapped Capone around when he was a punk kid delivering bootlegger monies to Rock Island--back before Capone took over Chicago.
Max Collins is a comics scholar, having written an award-winning historical photo book and having taken over the Dick Tracy strip from originator Chester Gould in 1977. He also did the Batman comics for a while. "oad to Perdition" debuted as a graphic novel and started the trend of novel-length comics being made into movies. Max also wrote a traditional novel based on the screenplay of the movie, and published a trilogy on this same story line (Road to Purgatory and Road to Paradise).
Max is vice chairman of Mississippi Valley Writers Colony, and a long-time friend of Rich Johnson. Rich was so thrilled for Max when his book got made into a movie. A large portion of MVWC funds used to produce Rich's Bix book came from money Max raised for MVWC through his books & movies. He had wanted the filmmakers of Road to Perdition to use Bix's music in the movie but when an author sells the rights to his story, he doesn't get a say in the director's choices for locations or background music, or anything else. but Max made plenty on the movie rights to not have any complaints. The filmmakers scouted QC locations but chose to film in and around Chicago because of their strong base of film technicians & the financial incentives from Cook County.
Bix Beiderbecke played in dives owned by the Paul Newman character, and drank his gin because John Looney controlled all the bootlegging when Bix was growing up in Davenport.
If you are a really big fan of the "Road to Perdition movie," let me know, and I'll put you in touch with the person who provided all this information. Some memorabilia is available through that person.
Here is a photo of Max Collins & Road to Perdition actors, director & producers.