The Da Vinci Code: According to Variety, Columbia Pictures has begun negotiations with Tom Hanks to play Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon in "The Da Vinci Code," the adaptation of the Dan Brown bestseller that begins production next year for a 2006 release.

As the book was becoming a runaway bestseller, then-Columbia Pictures chairman John Calley made sure the studio bought it for a rich seven-figure deal.

After Calley stepped down to become a producer, he came aboard "Code," and was joined in that capacity by Brian Grazer when Ron Howard came aboard as director. They brought on their "A Beautiful Mind" scribe Akiva Goldsman to pen the script.

Though the principals denied it at the time, it has been clear since March that Hanks would play the role. Though no deal has been completed with the star, it's expected he'll make room in his schedule to reteam with Howard, who directed him in "Apollo 13."

Studio now can turn to finding an actress to play French cryptologist Sophie Neveau. It is her grandfather whose gruesome murder in the Louvre sets Langdon on a journey to find a killer while weaving clues that cut to the foundation of the Catholic Church.