Ayelet Zurer Cast as Vittoria Vetra in Angels and Demons - Updated!
by Alex Billington
April 24, 2008
Production on Ron Howard's adaptation of Dan Brown's Angels & Demons is finally slated to begin in June and the cast is now being finalized. We originally reported last year that Naomi Watts had been cast as the female lead Vittoria Vetra. Now a report from Entertainment Weekly states that Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer has been cast as Vetra instead. While it's still not officially confirmed by the studio, EW states that they have received numerous confirmations from sources "close to the production." We sure hope they're not wrong this time, but she seems like the perfect fit anyway - in the same way Audrey Tautou was actually the perfect fit for Sophie Neveu in The Da Vinci Code, despite the rather mediocre movie in the end.
We'll recap the first description of Vittoria Vetra according to the book.
"Lithe and graceful, she was tall with chestnut skin and long black hair that swirled in the backwind of the rotors. Her face was unmistakably Italian - not overly beautiful, but possessing full, earthy features that even at twenty yards seemed to exude a raw sensuality. As the air currents buffeted her body, her clothes clung, accentuating her slender torso and small breasts."
Vittoria is the adopted daughter of CERN scientist Leonardo Vetra who joins with Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) on an adventure through Vatican City. When a physicist at CERN is murdered, evidence is discovered of the rebirth of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati - and it's up to Langdon and Vetra to stop a terrorist attack and uncover the truth behind the powerful organization. Additional cast still unannounced include CERN's Maximilian Kohler and Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca. I'd highly suggest reading the book beforehand, as was also the case with The Da Vinci Code.
I personally prefer Naomi Watts over Zurer, but alas I don't have a say. As a big fan of the book and a big fan of Watts (in Eastern Promises), I feel like she just fits the character a lot more than Zurer. However, I'm not too familiar with Zurer's work (besides in Munich) and I can only trust that she won't be a bad alternative. It may just irk me in the end thinking Naomi could've done a better job, but I think I'll get over it soon enough. At least I'm glad this is finally starting production, although I really hope this turns out a lot better than The Da Vinci Code.
Update! It appears Ewan McGregor has also been cast in the film. Variety only reveals that McGregor will play a "Vatican insider who assists Langdon." It's likely he will either play Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca, the late pope's closest aide, who assists Langdon and Vetra, or one of the Vatican's Swiss Guard: Commander Olivetti, Captain Rocher or Lieutenant Chartrand. I love Ewan McGregor as well and its great to have him join the cast, too.