Ayelet Zurer has landed the coveted role of Vittoria Vetra in Sony Pictures’ upcoming Da Vinci Code prequel Angels & Demons. While the studio won’t confirm, sources close to the production tell that the Israeli actress (who played Eric Bana’s wife in Munich and was last seen in Sony’s Vantage Point) has been cast opposite Tom Hanks in the Ron Howard-directed film. The actress was chosen over more well-known stars, including Naomi Watts, who had been in talks for the role, according to previous reports.

Zurer’s character is the daughter of CERN physicist Leonardo Vetra. Following her father’s death, Vittoria pairs with Robert Langdon (Hanks) on a journey to uncover the mystery behind her father’s murder and stop a terrorist plot. Sony has yet to cast the roles of Maximilian Kohler (director of CERN) and Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca (aide to the Pope). The production was delayed late last year due to the writers strike. It is now set to begin filming in Europe in June, eyeing a May 15, 2009, release date.

addCredit(“Ayelet Zurer: Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Tom Hanks: Dave Hogan/Getty Images”)