Why Tom Hanks And Ron Howard Skipped Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol On The Way to Inferno
It has been a decade since director Ron Howard and his leading man, Tom Hanks, started deciphering author Dan Brown's literary puzzles for the big screen. Starting with The Da Vinci Code in 2006, the Robert Langdon series extended through Angels & Demons and continues later this month with Inferno, and adaptation of the most recent Brown adventure that sends Hanks on a mission through Florence, Italy to stop a global terrorist. Die hard fans of Brown's works, however, will realize that by fast-forwarding to Inferno, Howard and Hanks overlooked the third book in the Robert Langdon timeline -- the D.C.-set The Lost Symbol from 2009 -- and I wondered if there was a reason.
Luckily, I was able to sit down with Tom Hanks in Florence, Italy to discuss Inferno and his work on this fast-moving franchise, and when it comes to The Lost Symbol, he told me:
So it sounds like, even in Inferno is a huge hit, the idea of Tom Hanks and Ron Howard going back to adapt The Lost Symbol is a non-starter, because the plot and themes are too similar to what the duo did in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. These stories have been told out of order before. In the book sense, Angels came before Da Vinci, but Ron Howard and Sony chose to start with Da Vinci because that novel was a global sensation. After audiences flocked to the first Robert Langdon story, the studio greenlit its predecessor, and Angels did well at the box office, as well.
Dan Brown, meanwhile, is working on his fifth Robert Langdon story, Origin, which has a 2017 release date, and I assume that's the project to which Tom Hanks refers when he says that if it "comes down the pike," they may consider it. Ironically, earlier this year, Ron Howard explained why they had a tough time cracking the story of The Lost Symbol, leading to them passing on it. You can read his insights into that film's development here. And here is Tom Hanks talking Inferno and The Lost Symbol:
Inferno, directed by Ron Howard, stars Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Omar Sy and Irrfan Khan in another thriller that has Robert Langdon racing the clock to unravel historical mysteries and prevent a massive disaster. It hits theaters in the U.S. on Oct. 28.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.