Vatican bans 'godless' Da Vinci Code sequel Angels & Demons from Rome churches
By Malcolm Moore in Rome
Last Updated: 12:04PM BST 17/06/2008
The Vatican has banned the makers of Angels & Demons, the latest book from Da Vinci Code bestseller Dan Brown to be turned into a movie, from entering the Holy See and any church in Rome.
The movie, the sequel to the enormously successful The Da Vinci Code, sees Tom Hanks reprise his role as Harvard professor Robert Langdon. This time, however, Mr Langdon is on a mission to save the Vatican from being blown up by a canister of anti-matter.
The entire film is set in Rome, and Sony Pictures applied for permission to film two key scenes inside the churches of Santa Maria del Popolo and Santa Maria della Vittoria.
The plot of the book sees Mr Langdon arriving in Santa Maria della Vittoria to find a cardinal being set on fire.
However, the scene will now be shot on a soundstage after the diocese of Rome closed its doors against the producers. Father Marco Fibbi, a spokesman, said: "Usually we read the script but in this case it wasn't necessary. Just the name Dan Brown was enough. "
He added that most films are given permission, as long as they respect the "traditions of the Church". Father Fibbi said: "Angels and Demons peddles a type of fantasy that damages our common religious beliefs, just like The Da Vinci Code did."
The Catholic Church is still angry over The Da Vinci Code, which suggested that Jesus may have been secretly married to Mary Magdalene. When the movie came out, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, said: "Boycotting this film is the least we can do. The book and the film are a pot pourri of nonsense, a phantasmagorical cocktail of inventions."
The cast of Angels & Demons, which is also being directed by Ron Howard, have drawn crowds of hundreds in the past few weeks during the shoot in Rome. Tom Hanks won widespread admiration for halting the filming at one point to escort a bride to her wedding at the Pantheon.
The crew has now relocated to Caserta, near Naples, where the former Royal Palace will double for the inside of the Vatican. The film, which also stars Ewan McGregor, is due to be released next May.
Franco Zeffirelli, the director of Jesus of Nazareth, told the Corriere della Sera: "Dan Brown is a rapscallion. The Vicariate has done well to deny them access."