Tom Hanks, one of only two actors to ever win back-to-back Academy Awards( R) as Best Actor for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, has been cast in the lead role of the famed symbologist Robert Langdon in Columbia Pictures' upcoming film adaptation of Dan Brown's best-selling thriller The Da Vinci Code, it was announced today by Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group Chairman Amy Pascal and the film's producers Brian Grazer and John Calley. The studio also announced that it has slated May 19, 2006 as the worldwide day and date release for the highly anticipated film.
The Da Vinci Code will be directed by Ron Howard from a screenplay by Akiva Goldsman, both of whom, along with Grazer, took home Oscars(R) for the drama A Beautiful Mind. Production will begin next year in the United States and Europe.
The Da Vinci Code has been on nationwide best seller lists virtually non-stop since it was released by Doubleday in 2003, including 87 weeks at the top of the NY Times Bestseller list. Over 20 million copies of the novel are in print worldwide and the book has been translated into 42 different languages.
"Tom Hanks is one of the biggest stars in the world today," said Calley, "He has all the intelligence, wry sophistication, everyman charm and talent required to bring this role to life and it's hard to imagine a more perfect fit for the character of Robert Langdon, who Dan Brown created with such compelling care in his bestseller, The Da Vinci Code."
"When John Calley and Amy Pascal gave us the opportunity to team with them on The Da Vinci Code, Ron and I knew it was the chance of a lifetime," said Grazer.
"The potential that exists through this collaboration of material and talent is extraordinary. Having source material as rich and popular as Dan Brown's novel, a screenwriter with Akiva's talent and a star of the magnitude of Tom Hanks is an embarrassment of riches. We couldn't be more happy to be working alongside Columbia on this project," said Howard.
"The Da Vinci Code is the cornerstone of our 2006 slate," said Pascal. "On those rare occasions when you are lucky enough to acquire such a coveted property, job one is to be as faithful as possible to the book and respectful of the fans who love it worldwide. With the enormous talents of Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, Akiva Goldsman, John Calley and Brian Grazer, we feel we could not be in better or more capable hands as we bring this international literary phenomenon to the screen."
At Columbia, The Da Vinci Code will be overseen by Matt Tolmach, Co-President of Production for Columbia Pictures and Andrea Giannetti, Executive Vice President of Production. At Imagine, the project will be overseen by Karen Kehela Sherwood, Co-Chairman of Imagine Entertainment.
The Da Vinci Code will mark Hanks third collaboration with Howard and Grazer, having previously starred for Howard in the space drama Apollo 13 and in his star-making role in the comedy Splash.
In addition to his dual Oscar(R) victories, Hanks also received nominations for Big, Saving Private Ryan and Cast Away. He is the recipient of the 2002 American Film Institute Life Achievement Award.
Hanks recently starred in the animated adventure The Polar Express, which he also executive produced. Earlier this year he starred in Steven Spielberg's The Terminal and the Coen brother's The Ladykillers. Other notable films include Spielberg's Catch Me if You Can, Road to Perdition, The Green Mile, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, A League of Their Own and the animated blockbusters Toy Story and Toy Story 2.
Behind the camera, Hanks executive produced, hosted and even directed an episode of the HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon," which was produced by Grazer and Howard, and earned Hanks Emmy, Golden Globe and Producers Guild Awards. He performed the same duties on the WWII HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers," again taking home an Emmy, Golden Globe and Producers Guild Award for best miniseries and additionally, winning an Emmy for Best Director and a nomination for Best Writing.
Hanks also directed and wrote the musical feature That Thing You Do, in which he also starred. Along with his wife Rita Wilson and partner Gary Goetzman, he produced the blockbuster romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
About Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures, part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.sonypictures.com/.
CULVER CITY, Calif., Nov. 30, 2005 /PRNewswire/ --