Even the most enthusiastic devotee of big-budget Hollywood is bound to have a few movies which he trudges to see out of a sense of duty rather than excitement. For me it's (among other things) Ron Howard's Da Vinci Code franchise, based on the borderline illiterate but ultra-popular books by Dan Brown. It is out of that same sense of obligation that I report to you the impending recruitment of Ewan McGregor to star alongside Tom Hanks in Angels & Demons, the prequel to the first film. McGregor will play Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca, a Papal aide who helps Hanks's intrepid symbologist stop an attack on the Vatican. As we suspected yesterday, Munich's Ayelet Zurer is also on board to play Vittoria Vetra, the daughter of a murdered physicist who tags along with the hero scientist. (This is contrary to earlier reports that Naomi Watts had scored the part.)

The main reason I have little hope for Angels & Demons is that, as with the first film, the screenplay will be written by Akiva Goldsman, who may be my least favorite working screenwriter. Ewan McGregor is a splendid actor, but Goldsman's dull, leaden dialogue managed to defeat even Sir Ian McKellen. As The Da Vinci Code proved, Goldsman and Brown are one deadly combination.

We've got a ways to go: Angels & Demons comes out next May. I think I'll go back to not thinking about it now, if you don't mind.