ANGELS AND DEMONS, the prequel to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, has a female lead - AYELET ZURER.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Zurer will play Vittoria Vetra, daughter of CERN physicist Leonardo Vetra, who teams up with Robert Langdon after the death of her father in a bid to uncover his killer.

Australian actress Naomi Watts was initially linked with the role.

TOM HANKS will reprise his role as Langdon in the Ron Howard project

Previously Israeli-born Ayelet has starred in MUNICH and VANTAGE POINT.

Shooting on the movie is expected to begin towards the end of June, with a release date scheduled for May 2009.

Work on the project has being delayed by the Hollywood writers' strike, which left the script incomplete until recently.

Earlier this month, film and TV studio Pinewood Shepperton revealed that the postponement of ANGELS AND DEMONS had contributed to a 30 per cent fall in its pre-tax profits to £7.1 million.

24/04/2008 12:01:20