This time around, Dan Brown hero is Vatican ally

May 1, 2009

photocall-2After exposing a Church cover-up in “The Da Vinci Code,” symbologist Robert Langdon returns to the big screen as an unlikely Vatican ally in the latest movie adaptation of a novel by author Dan Brown.

“Angels & Demons,” again starring Tom Hanks as Langdon and directed by Ron Howard, premieres in Rome on Monday at a theatre a mile (0.6 kilometer) away from Vatican City. It’s due to open in the United States on May 15.

(Photo: Tom Hanks, Ayelet Zurer and Ron Howard (L-R) at a photocall at CERN near Geneva, 12 Feb 2009/Valentin Flauraud)

In the film, Langdon is recruited by the Vatican after the pope dies and four cardinals tippedĀ  to succeed him are kidnapped. Langdon races through the “Eternal City” deciphering clues linked to a centuries-old secret society, the Illuminati.

“He is not the man the Vatican trusts — he is the man the Vatican needs,” Howard said in production notes for the movie.

The Vatican deeply disapproved of” The Da Vinci Code,” especially its portrayal of the life of Jesus, and the Archdiocese of Rome refused permission for “Angels & Demons” to be filmed in historic churches there, photocallforcing the crew to recreate them in Los Angeles. The Vatican has declined to comment on reports it would call for a boycott of the new film.

When “Angels & Demons” actor Ewan McGregor and actress Ayelet Zurer posed for a photocall in Rome with actors dressed as Swiss Guards, they had to do it in a deconsecrated church.

(Photo: McGregor and Zurer at photocall in Saint Marta Church in Rome, 15 Feb 2009/Alessia Pierdomenico)

But director Howard says it’s not anti-Catholic and thinks that “Catholics, including most in the hierarchy of the Church, will enjoy the movie for what it is: an exciting mystery, set in the awe-inspiring beauty of Rome.”

Will this Dan Brown movie go down better at the Vatican than “The Da Vinci Code”? Read the whole story here, plus our film Factbox.

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