Movie adaptations usually translate into big-money hits, especially if you’re Dan Brown, who has made millions of dollars from the film versions of some of his best-selling novels. Brown is best known for incorporating the Illuminati, Freemasonry, religious conspiracy theories, and secret society activity into his storylines. In bringing his tales to life, actor Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard have been in the center of the success, and they have both signed on for the upcoming third movie adaptation of one of Brown’s novels titled, ‘Inferno.’
In the novel, ‘Inferno,’ Brown has the protagonist in his novels Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) believing that the there is a conspiracy within the U.S. government to kill him. In a novel shaped by Langdon and his partner taking a historical journey throughout the art and architecture of different locales, including European attractions such as Boboli Gardens in Florence, the duo begin to uncover clues and unravel yet another intriguing mystery.
The fun really begins as Langdon opens a container with a medieval bone cylinder inside that has been outfitted with a hi-tech projector that shows a modified version of the Map of Hell by Botticelli. Towards the bottom of the illuminated display, he reads the words, “The truth can be glimpsed only through the eyes of death.”
In Brown’s previous books, readers have consistently encountered information about the Illuminati, Freemasonry, and conspiracy theories.
The Da Vinci Code (2003)
With Templars, the Holy Grail, and the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, Dan Brown orchestrated his first Robert Langdon-centered novel regarding the possibility that Jesus had been married to Mary Magdalene. In the movie, Langdon is investigating a murder that has taken place in the Louvre Museum in Paris, where he learns that the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei are at odds with one another over this theory. The murdered victim was found naked and positioned in the same manner as Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘the Vitruvian Man’ – hence the title of the novel.
Since Langdon is a symbologist, he is called upon to interpret the cryptic message that was written beside the body, which also had a pentagram drawn upon the chest.
Angels & Demons (2000)
In this novel, Langdon attempts to stop the Illuminati from succeeding in a plot to destroy Vatican City by using a power source that has recently been discovered, called antimatter. A physicist has been murdered, and on his chest is found a brand of an ambigram of the word ‘Illuminati.’ Langdon is contacted because he is an expert on the secret organization. The novel goes on to state that members of the Illuminati have stolen a canister that contains antimatter, which has the potential to do as much damage as a small nuclear weapon. It is up to Langdon to track down the canister somewhere in the Vatican, which has been set to self-destruct within 24 hours.
The Lost Symbol (2009)
Although there has been no movie adaptation of The Lost Symbol, Brown used Freemasonry as a primary theme for the novel which was set in Washington, D.C. Langdon is under the impression that his mentor, a 33rd degree Mason (and head of the Smithsonian Institution, has asked him to give a lecture at the U.S. Capitol. However, upon reaching the city, he learns that his mentor has been kidnapped and that his requested presence is part of a scheme to have him locate what is known as the Mason’s Pyramid (which the Masons believe is hidden somewhere underground in Washington), and the Lost Word. If he fails, then his mentor will be executed.
If this latest novel and movie follows in the same vein as the previous movies, it will be interesting to see what sort of conspiracies, religious mysteries, and secret organizations/ plots that Langdon will encounter in the movie version of ‘Inferno.’