Ewan McGregor eyes 'Angels'

In talks to play an aide to the pope in the prequel

Ewan McGregor is in talks to square off against Tom Hanks in "Angels & Demons," Columbia's prequel to "The Da Vinci Code" being directed by Ron Howard and produced by Brian Grazer and John Calley.

"Angels" sees Hanks reprising his role as symbologist professor Robert Langdon who tries to solve a murder and unravel a plot by an ancient group, the Illuminati, to blow up the Vatican during a papal conclave.

McGregor will play Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca, also known as Janus, the late pope's closest aide who initially helps Langdon in the investigation.

Ayelet Zurer ("Munich") also is on board the production, playing Langdon's sidekick, a woman who is trying to uncover the mystery of her father's murder.

Akiva Goldsman adapted the Dan Brown book.

Shooting it set to begin in June in Europe before heading to Los Angeles.

Repped by Endeavor, McGregor stars opposite Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams in "Deception," which bows today. He is filming "I Love You Phillip Morris" opposite Jim Carrey.