Will Tom Hanks (search) crack "The Da Vinci Code"? Director Ron Howard (search) and producer Brian Grazer, the team behind "A Beautiful Mind" and "Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas," said in Newsweek that they wanted the "Saving Private Ryan" star because of the cerebral nature of Dan Brown's (search) best-selling novel.

"Tom is an exciting actor to watch thinking," Howard told the magazine. "We probably don't need his status from a box-office standpoint, but he gives Langdon instant legitimacy."

Hanks would play Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbologist who is in a life-or-death race with a secret society to uncover the secrets of the Holy Grail hidden in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci.

The actor's representatives said he is in negotiations to play the part.

Hanks previously worked with Howard and Grazer on the movies "Splash" (1984) and "Apollo 13" (1995).