'Da Vinci Code' crew says it's entertainment not theology

CANNES: The maker of The Da Vinci Code – director Ron Howard – and the cast and crew today stated that it is the media, which is looking for a story that has created the hype around the so called religious controversy. "The controversy has actually been very limited," says Alfred Molina, who plays the part of Bishop Aringarosa.

Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou and Ron Howard at Cannes (Picture from film, which has created a storm in India with news channels and newspapers giving blanket coverage to the calls for the movie to be banned, is no stranger to controversy. Information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi on Tuesday said that he "will not allow the controversial film Da Vinci Code to be screened unless representatives of Catholic churches along with the Censor Board watch the movie and clear it."

Even for newly launched English movie channel from the Sony stable SET Pix (Sony Pictures is distributing the film worldwide), the hullabaloo has come as a big dampener. Amongst other marketing activities it had planned, it had also scheduled a special screening of the movie in Mumbai for the cable and media fraternity on Saturday.

Speaking to the media after the film's screening Howard said, "Right from the beginning I expected controversy. We were talking about a global bestseller," said Howard. "We were expecting it to be upsetting to some people. But we cannot forget that this is a piece of fictional entertainment people who have not seen the movie are talking about. What I would tell them is see the movie and then form your opinion. And if you are going to be upset by the movie don't watch it. The movie will arouse different reactions from various people. We wanted to stir debate, we wanted people to think."

Added Tom Hanks: "This is not theology, it is entertainment, and if people can remember that, it will be good. It is a piece of commercial cinema."

When asked if the religious community put any pressure on him before he enacted the role of Robert Langdon, Hanks said, "Thankfully, brains score over emotion and fiction."

Ian McKellen, who essays the role of Sir Leigh Teabing added in lighter vein that the fact that Jesus was married puts to rest the speculation that he was gay. Tom Hanks avoided the question saying that he was not around then.

As far as box office goes, Howard said that his partner in Imagine Entertainment expected the movie to do well. His partner Brian Glasser, who begins work on Imagine's next project American Gangster with Russel Crowe and Samuel Jackson in Harlem two months from now, said he expects it to do very well. "A big winner," he said.

That remains to be seen though. With calls for bans and the like coming in from across the globe as well as the tepid reviews the film has been getting, the producers might be hoping for a miracle in expecting that viewers will flock into the theatres.

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