LATEST: Director Ron Howard deems Tom Hanks the only actor fit for the lead role in his movie adaptation of best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code.

Hanks emerged as the favourite to play art historian PROFESSOR ROBERT LANGDON in the big screen take of Dan Brown's book earlier this week (begs15NOV04).

And now COLUMBIA PICTURES' negotiations with the OSCAR-winner have reportedly been speeded up, courtesy of the A Beautiful Mind film-maker.

Howard says, "Tom is an exciting actor to watch thinking."

In Brown's book, Langdon is the man who cracks the mystery of the renowned Holy Grail. The film is expected to begin shooting next year (05).

17/11/2004 09:21