Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer will be starring alongside Tom Hanks in “Angels and Demons,” an adaptation of Dan Brown’s detective bestseller from 2000, and a sequel to the box office hit, "The Da Vinci Code," directed by Ron Howard.
Though Sony Studios are reluctant to confirm the news, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday that Zurer (“In Treatment,” “Nina’s Tragedies") will portray the lead female role originally intended for Naomi Watts.
Zurer will take on the role of Vittoria Vetra, who together with symbology professor, Robert Langdon, goes out to investigate the death of her father, Leonardo, a priest and atomic researcher, and thwart a scheme by a secret cult to destroy the Vatican. Principal photography is scheduled to commence in Europe this coming June.
Casting Zurer for “Angels and Demons” puts her on Hollywood's A list. Ever since her performance in Steven Spielberg’s “Munich” two years ago, she has become a household name in the movie industry’s capital.
Last year alone, she performed in four films and turned down the series “Lost.” Paul Schrader, who directed Zurer in “Adam Resurrected,” called her the “Meryl Streep of our times.”
However, Zurer is not the only Israeli actress to claim international success these days: Ronit Alkabetz will be walking down the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival for the fourth time with her film, “Shiva,” which she wrote and co-directed with her brother Shlomi Alkabetz, about a large Moroccan family mourning the sudden death of one of her members.
“I feel wonderful,” said Alkabetz. “It’s definitely an achievement, since each film is carefully selected.” Though she knows what hard work the red carpet demands, it is also “an opportunity to spread my wings worldwide,” adds Alkabetz.
Amy Ginsburg contributed to this article