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The Cast and Characters
After Goldsman's screenplay was completed, the next major hurdle for the filmmakers was to assemble a cast that would embody the essence of the fascinating personalities that populate Brown's novel and could translate to the screen as engaging and entertaining characters in their own right.

As executive producer Todd Hallowell sees it: "This is a unique film in that it has a truly international cast. Watching Ron slowly piece together all the right elements so that they perfectly meshed was a pretty amazing process. He really put together an extraordinary ensemble.”

"Robert Langdon is the thinking man's hero, someone who is on a relentless quest to unravel this mystery,” observes screenwriter Goldsman. "Throughout history, we have been drawn to people who seek out the truth, who search for the grail. They were often knights, men who were pure of heart, strong of spirit and unrelenting.”

Hanks had been involved with The Da Vinci Code almost from its inception. Though he and Howard had not collaborated in the past several years, they remained close. "It was more than friendship that led me to want to cast Tom as Robert Langdon,” says Howard. "When I started talking to him about the role, I had a similar kind of positive feeling I had when we first discussed Apollo 13 a decade ago. There was a natural intersection between Tom as an actor and a person and the sensibility of the character of Robert Langdon. He's this guy to a tee. Langdon is driven by curiosity and has a wonderfully dry sense of humor.

More than anything else, Langdon is fascinated by details and eager to understand the truth. Tom is also very smart and fascinated by the world around him. In casting Tom, I was certain I had brought in a really intelligent and helpful collaborator.”

Hanks was eager to work with Howard again, particularly since he was taking on the challenge of playing a character so different from anything in his own life experience. "Langdon has this arcane knowledge that is very deep and quite extensive and he is fascinated by it,” says Hanks. "He has somehow turned this knowledge into a lucrative career. As a symbologist, he can tell you what three marks on a cave wall represent, what they meant then and how they've come to be interpreted down through the ages. This is a guy who is continuously observing absolutely everything. He sees all these connections, all the time.”

The actor says his collaboration with Howard was essential in his process of discovering the character of Robert Langdon: "Ron is so easy-going. At the same time he's incredibly responsible, creatively vigilant and dedicated to excellence.”

The name Sophie comes from Greek Sofia for "wisdom” and Neveu means "descendent” in French — a descendent of Mary Magdalene, perhaps?

For Howard, the role of Sophie Neveu was a crucial one in telling the story of The Da Vinci Code. "One of the themes that resonated with me when I read the novel, and one of the things I really wanted to make sure was front and center in the movie, was the idea of the sacred feminine,” says Howard. "I have three daughters, and have been married for 30 years to a powerful woman, so this was very important to me. Sophie's emotional journey in The Da Vinci Code is really exciting. Having such a strong female character at the center, watching her come to understand who she really is as this mystery of her life unfolds, adds a great deal of wonderful suspense to the thriller.”

Screenwriter Goldsman was equally intrigued by the concept of the sacred feminine. "For me, the most interesting aspect of The Da Vinci Code was the story of this girl who, in her search for identity, turns out to be far more than she ever imagined. From a writing point of view, that's very fertile territory. It's not as panoramic and epic as other aspects of the<

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