Ron Howard: Women LOVED Tom Hanks' mullet... critics, not so much

This week sees the release of ‘Inferno’, the third Dan Brown film adapted by Ron Howard, starring Tom Hanks as symbology expert Robert Langdon.

All of the literary franchise’s usual tropes are present and correct – lavish European locations, mad dashes from museum to museum, symbols and puzzle-solving – but there’s one key factor missing from the new movie: Robert Langdon’s iconic mullet.

The character’s flowing locks – the source of much derision when ‘The Da Vinci Code’ was released in 2006 – have gradually retreated over the course of the trilogy, all because the critics didn’t approve.

“We all loved that haircut on ‘Da Vinci Code’,” explains Howard to Yahoo Movies.

“But fans not so much, and critics worse.”

Tom Hanks' in 'Da Vinci Code', 'Angels and Demons' and 'Inferno' - Credit: Columbia Pictures
Tom Hanks’ in ‘Da Vinci Code’, ‘Angels and Demons’ and ‘Inferno’ – Credit: Columbia Pictures

The BBC famously suggested “the mullet hairstyle [Hanks] sports throughout deserves a credit of its own”, and Howard told us it’s one of the few times he or Tom Hanks has ever bowed to public opinion, toning it down in the second film ‘Angels and Demons’, and ditching it altogether for ‘Inferno’.

He says he was surprised by the vitriol aimed at Langdon’s hair though, saying it had been a big hit with the ladies on the shoot.

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“Women loved this haircut throughout the whole shoot,” Howard adds, “Everywhere [Hanks] went, it was ‘oh, I like his hair, wow, wow’, and then, either because it’s just not what Tom looks like or not what they imagined Robert Langdon looked like or something, it became this sticking point.

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones in 'Inferno' - Credit: Columbia Pictures
Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones in ‘Inferno’ – Credit: Columbia Pictures

“So we felt like we didn’t need to be stubborn about that. That wasn’t at the centre of this Dan Brown brand of entertainment.”

One factor that IS part of Brown’s brand of entertainment is rooting the plot in real-world conspiracies and fears. This latest film sees Langdon embroiled in a plot formed by an elusive billionaire – Bertrand Zobrist played by Ben Foster – who wants to unleash a plague on the world to solve the burgeoning overpopulation crisis.

Here’s what Felicity Jones and Ron Howard had to say about the threat posed to the globe by overpopulation versus the threat posed by Donald Trump…

‘Inferno’ is in cinemas now.