Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer has signed on for the female lead opposite Tom Hanks in Columbia Pictures' The Da Vinci Code prequel Angels & Demons. Ewan McGregor is in talks to join the thriller, which is based on the Dan Brown best-seller.

According to Variety, McGregor is considering the role of a powerful Vatican insider who assists Langdon.

Ron Howard is directing from an Akiva Goldsman script.

The story centers on religious art scholar Robert Langdon (Hanks), who once again finds himself entangled with powerful forces with ancient roots: the Illuminati -- the most powerful underground organization in history -- and the Catholic Church. Zurer will play Vittoria Vetra, an Italian scientist who joins forces with Langdon.

No word on when production will begin.