Ron Howard Won’t Direct THE DA VINCI CODE Sequel THE LOST SYMBOL

     July 26, 2011


The Da Vinci Code made $758 million worldwide.  The sequel, Angels & Demons, earned a reduced (yet still very impressive) $485 million.  Naturally, Sony is going for the hat trick, and hired Steven Knight last year to adapt The Lost Symbol, the third book in the Robert Langdon series.  Last we checked, series author Dan Brown started work on a rewrite, though neither franchise star Tom Hanks nor director Ron Howard were confirmed to return.  Howard, at least, never will be — he may produce, but has decided not to direct The Lost Symbol.  Details after the jump.

A source tells Deadline:

“Ron told Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton that he was not going to be directing Dan Brown’s novels anymore. He just didn’t want to do that thing over and over, the same character and the same stories.”

the_lost_symbol_book_coverFair enough.  Laudable as a creative decision, though as Deadline points out, Howard could use a hit.  The Dan Brown films have propped up Howard’s resume lately — elsewhere, the last ten years are highlighted by relative flops like Cinderella Man and The Dilemma.  And it had to hurt when all the time and effort into setting up Dark Tower went to waste after Universal passed on the project.  Not to fret too much.  Howard is already casting his next project, Rush, not to mention Under the Banner of Heaven and Spy vs. Spy in the pipeline.  The multimillionaire, now in his fifth decade as a director, will be just fine.

So will The Lost Symbol, probably.  The report does not update on Hanks’ involvement, but Sony is on the lookout for a replacement director, so I imagine they have some hope of securing the star for another round.

Here’s the book synopsis:

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object —artfully encoded with five symbols—is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation . . . one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon—a prominent Mason and philanthropist —is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations—all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth. [Powell's Books]

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  • Edward Lee

    Charlie Sheen’s available, and he’s probably much cheaper than Tom Hanks.

    • SOund

      Were going for a movie, not a comedy. And besides charlie sheen is an idiot. It would be stupid not to try and get Tom Hanks to sign for this movie.

  • abandofoutsiders

    it’s a good oppurtunity to hire a badass controversial director that they should have hired since the first movie. a director who would go no holds barred. go european or asian. not some soft american director.

    Lars Von Trier
    Michael Hanake
    Park Chan Wook
    Jee-woon Kim

    i’m okay with someone replacing Hanks, but i still think that he could knock it out as Langdon with a great director. this franchise needs a director that would separate it from other hollywood thrillers. do some inspired directing choices Sony

    • tk421

      While every director on your list is a visionary and does phenomenal work, none of them woul deign to engage with such hackneyed material. This kind of mediocrity is in the wheelhouse of Joe Johnston or Brett Ratner.

      • abandofoutsiders

        there are people out there who has no love at all at Dan Brown’s novel(Ebert even said the the movie was better than the book).

        i’ve read some parts of the first novel and liked it. some were suspenseful writing, but i wouldn’t call myself as a real fan of the series.

        in your comment, maybe these filmmakers would improve the novel by “loosely” adapting it. Hanake and Von Trier are ballsy enough to do that. i hope Sony finds a great replacement. The Polanski suggestion is great, but would the already accomplished thriller director follow-up Ron Howard? i don’t think so.

        let’s just pray Sony does some inspired hiring. i love the Aronofsky hiring for Wolverine that Fox did. maybe there’s a studio out there that can match that insane(but bloody brilliant) hiring.

    • Azzamislegend

      Lars Von Trier could probably do wonders with this film but the man is afraid of flying and I am sure shooting america would be a big part of this film.

  • Saabguy85

    What happened to Ron Howard….Cinderella Man was his last good movie….hes turning into M. Night Shyamalan :(

    • labertooth

      damn man, why does people on the internet has such high personal taste. i thought Angels and Demons and Da Vinci code were okay thrillers(weren’t as different from the average hollywood thrillers but still okay. there were some good parts in those movies)

      but FROST/NIXON man? didn’t you like that? that was a great film. as suspenseful as watching a boxing match. terrific acting and terrific editing.

      haven’t seen Dilemma yet.

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  • Samuel

    I liked Ron Howard’s ‘Langdon’ films. They were substantially more cerebral than most Hollywood thrillers. If only it were not for the legal complications, Roman Polanski would be perfect for the next film (he did wonders with ‘The Ghost Writer’).

  • nawtnt

    That’s bad news, Ron Howard is a great actor.

    What happened to the days where the film industry had great directors like Brain De Palma, Francis Ford Coppola, Ja De Bont, Michael Mann, M.Night and Joel Schumacher (for his 80′s classic movie) who all became shit directors after flops after flops.

    I hope Howard doesn’t become like M. Night or Schumacher.

    Christopher Nolan is the next Palma or Coppola even I hope he doesn’t turn out to be a shit director.

  • Tarek

    Why not hiring Michael Bay ? The Box Office will be guaranteed. ^^

    (Is there any exploding things in the Lost Symbol ? ^^)

  • Kim

    Tarek, Michael Bay would IMPROVE the ‘Lost Symbol’, which is EXTREMELY BORING, PRIDICTABLE… It’s truly awful. More than a sequel feels like a remake of the first two. It would be great to have Michael Bay blowing up things!

    • Tarek

      Alas, I must agree with you on this. ^^

  • adff

    These Dan Brown books are just about the dumbest books on the shelves outside of maybe Twilight.

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  • Toby

    Let David Lynch direct it, it would be fun :3

  • Toby

    Two Word: David Lynch. It would be a hell of a movie, but I totally would pay to see that in theatres :3

  • paskuniag

    Whoever makes this film, I hope they jettison everything after the Climactic, Good Guy vs. Bad Guy moment. I have nothing against the Masons, but I think Brown made the final part of his book way too long in paying tribute to that organization. It just went on and on and on. I hope the writer who adapts the novel cuts most of that out.