LOS ANGELES – Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks has been cast to star in an upcoming movie adaptation of Dan Brown’s best-selling mystery The Da Vinci Code, film studio Columbia Pictures said on Tuesday.
Hanks will play the role of Robert Langdon, the Harvard professor who undertakes a modern-day quest for the Holy Grail in a thriller steeped in purported secrets about the early Christian church.
The film will be directed by Ron Howard from a screenplay by Akiva Goldman and produced by Howard’s business partner, Brian Grazer, the same team behind the 2001 Oscar-winning film A Beautiful Mind.
Source: Dismantling The Da Vinci Code By Sandra Miesel, Crisis, Sep. 1, 2003
The studio, a unit of Japanese electronics firm Sony Corp, said the film is slated for release on May 19, 2006. Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group Chairman Amy Pascal called it “the cornerstone” of the studio’s movie slate for that year.
“The potential that exists through this collaboration of material and talent is extraordinary,” Pascal said. She added that “job one is to be as faithful as possible to the book and respectful of the fans who love it worldwide.”
The book has been on nationwide bestseller lists almost nonstop since it was first published by Doubleday in 2003, including 87 weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. The studio said more than 20 million copies of the novel are in print worldwide.
According to trade publications, the studio acquired rights to Brown’s book last year in a reported seven-figure-deal brokered by then-Columbia executive John Calley before he stepped down as chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Calley remains attached to the project as producer with Grazer.
Hanks, currently featured in the animated holiday feature The Polar Express, previously teamed up with Howard and Grazer in the space drama Apollo 13 and his breakthrough comedy film Splash.
The 48-year-old star won back-to-back Academy Awards as best actor for his dramatic turns in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. He also earned Oscar nominations for his roles in Big, Saving Private Ryan and Cast Away.