Grace - actually that threading is exactly how many other books work - for example Lord of the Rings. In LOTR three separate storylines interwove constantly, and the movie was brilliant. So it's not that part that bothers me
Russell Crowe was originally considered but now Tom Hanks is definitely in. You'll find many false rumors on the web
The trick is to figure out which one is the latest one and on a reputable source.
The question is whether they're going to preserve the international flavor of the book, a la the casting of Name of the Rose, or make it a "US Disney version of Europe", a la most other Hollywood movies
People wonder why the world has such a low view of Hollywood, but considering how we foist films claiming to be about their countries, it's no surprise. Most of our movies about ancient Egypt and Rome are filled with white British and US actors, and no blacks. Hmmmmm.