It didn’t seem too far fetched for Tom Hanks to reprise his role of Harvard Professor Robert Langdon from the mega-flop, The Da Vinci Code, in Angels & Demons, both based on novels by Dan Brown, since Hanks can do anything he wants. At least he could, until today. The beloved star of Forrest Gump actually could fight City Hall and win, but even Tom can’t fight the Pope.
The Vatican has banned Angels & Demons from filming in any church in the City of Rome on the charge that it is an “offense against God” and “wounds common religious feelings.” We wonder how God let them know He was offended. Email? Texting? If he wrote an actual letter, that stamp would be worth millions.
Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, head of the Vatican’s Prefecture for Economic Affairs, said that Dan Brown had “turned the Gospels upside down to poison the faith. It would be unacceptable to transform churches into film sets so that his blasphemous novels can be made into mendacious films in the name of business.”
And the Vatican makes no bones about the fact that they didn’t even read the book. Father Marco Fibbi, spokesman for the diocese of Rome, said, “Normally we read the script, but this time it was not necessary. The name Dan Brown was enough.” They must think the devil made him write for a living.
The Vatican and two churches in the City of Rome (Santa Maria del Popolo and Santa Maria della Vittoria) were the settings for key scenes. Santa Maria del Popolo’s parish priest said there was no question of allowing scenes to be shot there. “It’s bad enough having to put up with tour guides explaining the scene to tourists.”
Even the Pope was unable to prevent shooting exteriors of St. Peter’s and its surrounding streets, so the former Royal Palace near Naples will now double for Vatican interiors.
According to timesonline.co.uk., “The Vatican asked the faithful to boycott the film of The Da Vinci Code, which Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, then Archbishop of Genoa and now, as Secretary of State, the right-hand man of Pope Benedict XVI, described as a “phantasmagorical cocktail of inventions” and “a pot-pourri of lies”. The film was also contested bitterly by the arch-conservative Roman Catholic organization Opus Dei, represented in the film by a ruthless killer monk, although it has no monks.
Here’s news for the Vatican. This is not the way to bring Hollywood to its knees. Only another flop from Dan Brown can do that.
Angels & Demons, also starring Ewan McGregor, is being directed by Ron Howard, who also helmed The Da Vinci Code, and was scripted by Akiva Goldsman.