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The Louvre grants Howard permission to film The Da Vinci Code

Story by: Jack Foley

DIRECTOR Ron Howard has been granted permission to film parts of The Da Vinci Code in The Louvre in Paris, according to France's Culture Ministry.

The world-famous arts facility was last used in a film in 1999, for Belphegor, a classic French ghost tale, but has granted permission to Howard because France wants to attract more film crews to its monuments and museums in a bid to boost tourism and provide jobs for thousands of its own showbusiness workers.

The opening section of Dan Brown's best-seller takes place in the Grand Gallery of The Louvre, as it is where the murder that sets events in motion takes place.

Tom Hanks has already been cast as Professor Robert Langdon, who is called in to solve the murder, while Jean Reno will occupy the role of the French detective who rates Langdon as his prime suspect.

Shooting is scheduled to begin in May, according to movie website, Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

The film looks set to become one of the biggest hits of 2006 given the interest surrounding the book.

And it has already provoked a side industry of specialised tours of Paris which explore the book's locations as well as the theories surrounding the work of Leonardo da Vinci, whose most famous painting - the Mona Lisa - hangs in The Louvre.

Filming is scheduled to mostly take place at night and on Tuesdays, when the museum is closed to the public.

In related news surrounding the project, French actress, Sophie Marceau, is strongly tipped to have won the pivotal role of cryptologist, Sophie Neveu.

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