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Tom Hanks set for The Da Vinci Code

Story by: Jack Foley

TOM Hanks has nabbed the lead role in the film adaptation of one of the most popular books of the moment - The Da Vinci Code.

The book, by Dan Brown, follows Harvard symbologist and conspiracy unraveller, Professor Robert Langdon, as he is called to the scene of a brutal murder at the Louvre, in Paris.

The victim is a curator, yet his death begins an investigation into one of the most intriguing mysteries of all-time, in the form of the legend of the Holy Grail and the true history of Jesus Christ.

Hanks will play the role of Professor Langdon, while Leon star, Jean Reno, is being tipped for the role of Inspector Bezu Fache.

Assisting Hanks in his pursuit of the truth will be female cryptologist, Sophie Neveu.

The film is being directed by Ron Howard, who has united with Hanks in the past to instant success (Apollo 13, anyone?).

But it wasn't Hanks' box office pull that proved the biggest factor in winning him the coveted role - more his ability to express so much emotion without having to say a word.

As Howard told US magazine, Newsweek: "Tom is an exciting actor to watch thinking. We probably don't need his status from a box office standpoint but he gives Langdon instant legitimacy."

The Da Vinci Code represents Brown's follow-up to Langdon's first novel, Angels & Demons, which also became a best-seller - helping the author to become one of Hollywood's hottest properties.

Once work begins on filming, expect The Da Vinci Code to also become one of its years hottest thrillers.

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