Way back in February of this year we reported that Steven Knight had been hired to write the screenplay for The Lost Symbol, the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name. Knight is probably best known for writing the gangster drama Eastern Promises but has also written the likes of Dirty Pretty Things and Amazing Grace.

However, fast-forward 10 months and it appears Columbia Pictures has decided to hand scriptwriting duties over to none other than the author of The Lost Symbol himself, Dan Brown.

Risky Business has the exclusive on Brown taking on The Lost Symbol screenplay but there’s no mention of why the studio isn’t going with Knight’s draft. It seems strange since Knight has a fair bit of experience in scriptwriting, particularly winning praise for his uncompromising and compelling Eastern Promises screenplay. Whereas this will mark the first time Brown has tried his hand at scriptwriting.

Perhaps Brown wants to ensure that The Lost Symbol movie ends up as faithful to his novel as possible and what better way to make sure of that than to write the adaptation himself?

The Lost Symbol sees the hero of Brown’s literary franchise, Robert Langdon, back to solve more deep-rooted mysteries – this time he’s in Washington, D.C. trying to decode the symbols of the Freemasons. The book was an instant best-seller, selling a whopping million+ copies on its first day alone (yowza!).

Tom Hanks played Langdon in both The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons but fans of the franchise shouldn’t get their hopes up quite yet as Risky Business also reports that Hanks isn’t confirmed to reprise his role, nor is Ron Howard (director of both Da Vinci and Angels) confirmed to direct the third film. However, the latter is still producing alongside Brian Grazer through their Imagine Entertainment company.

Hanks isn’t exactly hurting for work and Howard has that massive Dark Tower film and TV adaptation to tackle. Nonetheless I would be surprised if both of them didn’t come back to the franchise for one more installment – I suspect Columbia will throw big paychecks their way to convince them to return (this IS Hollywood we’re talking about after all).

Even if Hanks and Howard don’t return to star and direct, respectively, you can still expect to see The Lost Symbol in theaters fairly soon (in movie terms). Together The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons made the studio a whopping $1.24 billion worldwide and combine that with the popularity of The Lost Symbol novel and the movie version is pretty much a surefire moneymaker.

There’s no official release date set for The Lost Symbol yet but there’s speculation of a summer 2013 release, meaning the film would skip the madness of summer 2011-2012.

Source: Risky Business