by Christopher Hodapp
More casting news is trickling in about NBC's upcoming TV series Langdon, based on Dan Brown's Masonic-themed novel, The Lost Symbol. The Deadline website is reporting that actor/comedian Eddie Izzard (Six Minutes To Midnight) and Valorie Curry (The Tick) and are set to star opposite Ashley Zukerman's Robert Langdon.
Eddie Izzard has been cast as Peter Solomon, Director of the Smithsonian, billionaire philanthropist, and Robert Langdon's mentor at Harvard. Peter Solomon's character in the novel is also a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason and Masonic scholar. Frankly, this is a stroke of casting genius, as Peter Solomon (in the book, anyway) has a fine sense of humor, a thorough understanding of history, philosophy and theology, and it is through him that the best explanations and messages about Freemasonry ultimately unspool.
|Eddie Izzard as 'Bertie,' Prince Albert Edward, son of Queen Victoria|
in 'Victoria and Abdul'
If you only know the 58-year-old Izzard from his standup comedy material about being a transvestite and an atheist, you might be alarmed by this development. Frankly, his casting may give some Masons a case of the vapours. But if you've seen his dramatic performances (why do all comics want to be serious actors?), you know he's ideal for the part. He once said in an interview,
“I have noticed a reluctance in earlier years to know exactly where to start with research. Maybe it’s a laziness or lack of confidence about which way to go into it... The obvious thing that came into my head, or that I realized, was the better you researched it – the better you are into the character before you land on the set, the easier it’s going to be. You’re just going to be fully formed, I mean, obviously Daniel Day-Lewis does this to a huge extent, and that’s what I want to do, that’s the direction I want to head to, so that when I’m there, getting to the set, I know where I am, rather than a week into it, getting the hang of it."
The other announcement was that actress Valorie Curry will play Katherine Solomon, Peter Solomon's sister and the scientist conducting experiments on Noetics. You might know Curry as 'Dot Everest' in The Tick or Kelsey in Showtime's House of Lies.
The Deadline website is also reporting that NBC has firmly committed to actually start shooting the Langdon series later this year (the COVID pandemic shutdowns placed many shows slated for Fall in question).
Brown's The Lost Symbol novel — the sequel to The Da Vinci Code — was a 500+ page love letter to our fraternity, so I look forward to seeing how Hollywood treats us. I'm not dumb enough to think the fraternity will get an entirely fair treatment. In the most commonly used Masonic ritual in the U.S., we teach the lesson of Jacob's Ladder, and stress that Faith, Hope and Charity are its three principal rungs. 'Faith is lost in sight' - I have little faith that Hollywood can tell a Masonic story without screwing it up, based on having seen countless earlier examples. 'Hope ends in fruition' - so this project will hopefully not stink. But 'the greatest of these is Charity,' so I shall remain charitable until proved otherwise.
For previous news about the Langdon series: