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The Da Vinci Code - Preview

The Da Vinci Code

Preview by Jack Foley

ONE of the hottest films of the approaching spring/summer season looks set to be The Da Vinci Code, Ron Howard’s big screen version of the controversial best-seller by Dan Brown.

The blockbuster has been selected to open this year’s Cannes film festival on May 17, two days before it is released worldwide.

The thriller stars Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno, Sir Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany and Alfred Molina and is based around a fictional plot to conceal the true meaning of the Holy Grail.

The novel has sold more than 30 million copies in about 40 languages and continues to be embroiled in controversy because of various claims it makes about the Catholic church and Catholic organisations such as Opus Dei.

The church itself has denounced the book as ‘pure fiction’ and has actively sought to set the record straight, while Opus Dei went on the record just last week to call for the film to be given an adult rating.

But the ongoing controversy is music to the producers ears, given that they are rumoured to have invested $100m (£56m) in the movie, which could well become one of the year’s biggest hits.

At Cannes, The Da Vinci Code will be screened out-of-competition as part of the 11-day festival. It will then be released in France and Japan on the same day, before debuting in the UK and US on May 19.

Asked whether the film would seek to water down some of the book’s more controversial elements, producer Brian Grazer insisted that this wouldn’t happen.

He told Entertainment Weekly: “We wouldn’t do that. Just go to any fan site and they’ll tell you, ‘don’t do that’! So we didn’t do that.”

Director Ron Howard is equally bullish when anticipating any protests against it.

He told EW in their 2006 preview: “Not to be glib but I understood going in that it was going to be controversial. I think good fiction stimulates good controversy or discussion.”

Expect us to be on the case as the controversy hots up.