Hanks Officially Signs On To Crack 'Da Vinci Code'

Tom Hanks will reunite with director Ron Howard to star in “The Da Vinci Code,” the film adaptation of Dan Brown’s best-seller dissecting the origins of Christianity.

Production will begin next year, and distributor Sony Pictures said Tuesday it plans to release the film in May 2006.

Hanks will play Robert Langdon, a symbologist in a race to solve the murder of an elderly member of an ancient society that has protected dark secrets since the early years of Christianity.

The novel sparked a cottage industry of books attempting to debunk its assertions, including one that Christ married Mary Magdalene and fathered a child.

“The Da Vinci Code” will mark Hanks’ third collaboration with Howard and his producing partner Brian Grazer. The three previously worked together on 1984’s “Splash” and 1995’s “Apollo 13.”

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