Sony has, for a while now, been holding onto a December 2015 release date for Inferno - a film adaptation of author Dan Brown's Robert Langdon novel released in 2013 (Brown's fourth Langdon adventure overall). Today, we finally have a significant progress update to offer on the project, which shall once again team up actor Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard, following their two previous Langdon movies (The Da Vinci Code in 2006 and Angels & Demons in 2009).
Sony's original plan was to reunite the Hanks/Howard team on a movie version of The Lost Symbol, which is the third chronological installment in Brown's Langdon series. Perhaps it's for the best that Hanks and Howard are skipping ahead to the next Langdon novel instead, given the amount of time that has passed since Hanks last portrayed the fictional Harvard Professor Langdon in Angels & Demons. It wouldn't be the first departure from Brown's source material either, seeing as the Angels book (the first Langdon adventure novel, chronologically) was previously retrofitted to be a Da Vinci Code movie sequel.
Deadline is reporting that Inferno is gearing up to begin production in Italy by April 2015, as Hanks and Howard draw from an adapted screenplay written by David Koepp (who also penned Angels & Demons). No additional cast members have been revealed at this stage, though the previous Hanks/Howard Langdon movies were able to attract such top-notch acting talent as Ian McKellen, Audrey Tautou, and Ewan McGregor, among others, to fill out their supporting casts. (Meaning, Inferno may be able to do the same.)
Inferno picks up with Robert Langdon as he wakes up in a Florence hospital, having suffered a mysterious head wound that's left him with no memory of what transpired over the previous few days. It's not long thereafter when Robert finds himself drawn into a much larger, and older, conspiracy centered around the literary masterpiece that is Dante's "Inferno" - pitting him in a race against time to stop a dangerous adversary from putting in motion a most terrible plan.
Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons both performed quite well at the global box office ($758 million and $486 million worldwide theatrical grosses, respectively). At the same time, though, the pair received generally middling reviews for their pulpy historical conspiracy elements; not to mention, Brown's goofy storylines have proven to be more fun to read than watch onscreen so far, in many a critic's eye. In other words, Inferno has more working against it than just the amount of time that has gone by since the last Langdon movie.
Still, Inferno sounds like it ought to have a more cinematic narrative than past Brown film adaptations - and the combination of the source material's pull with Hank's star power should help to ensure a decent box office turnout (especially, with regard to the older adult moviegoing demographic). It's probably safe to say that Inferno will soon get a new release date, given its later-than-expected production start and the heavy competition in December 2015 (Star Wars: Episode VII, Mission: Impossible 5, and so forth).
For the time being, however, Inferno remains set for a December 18th, 2015 bow.