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‘Da Vinci’ prequel hit by strike

Tom Hanks starrer 'Angels' postponed

Sony’s “Angels & Demons” has become the first major casualty of the ongoing writers strike.

Studio said Friday that it is postponing production on the Tom Hanks starrer, which is a prequel to last year’s megahit “The Da Vinci Code.” Sources said the script, which was penned by “Da Vinci” scribe Akiva Goldsman, was rushed to meet the WGA’s Nov. 1 deadline for reaching a new contract with producers, and came in with insurmountable problems. Furthermore, no cast had signed on beyond Hanks.

The Vatican-set thriller was scheduled to begin shooting in February, with Ron Howard at the helm. Studio had set a Christmas 2008 release date.

“While the filmmakers and the studio feel the screenplay is very strong, we do not believe it is the fully realized production draft required of this ambitious project,” a Sony spokesperson said. “At this time, there is no new start date for ‘Angels & Demons,’ but we are setting a release date of May 15, 2009, and are hopeful to deliver the movie worldwide to theaters on that date. We do not expect any other film on our 2008 slate to be affected.”

Move is significant because it puts Hanks back in play to book one project before a potential SAG and DGA strike in June.

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