Ayelet Zurer joins Howard's 'Da Vinci' prequel

Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer has nabbed the female lead opposite Tom Hanks in Columbia Pictures’ “Da Vinci Code” prequel “Angels & Demons.”

Ewan McGregor is in talks to join the thriller, which is based on the Dan Brown best-seller.

McGregor is set to take on the role of a powerful Vatican insider who assists Langdon.

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.

Ron Howard is directing from an Akiva Goldsman script.

Zurer is best known in her native Israel, where she has starred in “Nina’s Tragedies” and the TV series “In Treatment,” which was recently adapted in the U.S. by HBO. Her U.S. film credits include “Munich” and Columbia’s “Vantage Point.” She will next be seen in the Samuel Goldwyn release “Fugitive Pieces.”

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