Saturday, July 30, 2005

Children to crack the Da Vinci Code

Capitalizing on the success of the wildly popular Da Vinci Code novel and soon-to-be-released movie, a new children’s book gives young readers a chance to crack puzzles in an “interactive adventure.” Who Can Crack The Leonardo Da Vinci Code?, by Thomas Brezina, taps into parents’ excitement about the Da Vinci Code, but according to the author, is “more historical” and does not include any conspiracy theories about the Holy Grail. The book focuses more on Leonardo Da Vinci and his life and supplies young readers with their own code-cracking scroll, a foil mirror, and a set of riddles to explore the life of the renaissance master. [More] [Buy the Book] [Discuss]

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Da Vinci Code, Filming in Paris, Lifts Tour Industry

July 28 (Bloomberg) -- It's 10 a.m. on a recent Wednesday on the Place Vendome in Paris and so many people have shown up for City Walks's Da Vinci Code tour that the guides have split them into two groups. About a half mile to the north, rue Saint Georges was blocked for a week this month to film a car chase for the movie version of Dan Brown's best-selling novel of art, religion and intrigue. For tour guides such as David Mebane, owner of City Walks of Paris, the popularity of Brown's book, which has sold 25 million copies since it was published in March 2003, has created a cottage industry in Da Vinci Code tours. The May 2006 release of the film, directed by Ron Howard, may attract a new flood of moviegoers. [More] [Discuss]

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Rosslyn Chapel Confirmed!

Filming of a Hollywood movie based on the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code is to take place at the Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh in September. Agreement for the use of the location has been reached between the chapel's trustees and Rose Line Productions. The film will star Tom Hanks as Professor Robert Langdon. The 15th century chapel saw a surge in visitors after the book's plot suggested it was built to house the secret of the Holy Grail. [More] [Discuss]

Read all about the Rosslyn Chapel on our 'Confirmed Locations' Page

The Welsh expert who cracked the code for 'Da Vinci' author

A scientist based in Wales has told how her work on physics conundrums helped inspire the Da Vinci Code series. Top-selling author Dan Brown thanked Dr Caroline H Thompson in the acknowledgements section of his hit book Angels and Demons. The book has become a huge success in the wake of the most famous novel in the series, the Da Vinci Code, which has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Both novels feature brilliant Harvard symbolist Robert Langdon as the hero. [More]

Sunday, July 24, 2005

McKellen joins row over Dickens pub

A pub immortalised by Charles Dickens as a centre of hard-drinking iniquity in his novel Our Mutual Friend is at the centre of a row over late-night opening. Police and residents who live near The Grapes, in east London's Limehouse district, are opposing an application for the pub to stay open until 2am because of fears that it will fuel crime. The dispute, which is before the local authority, has been given added impetus by the pub's literary credentials and by the number of celebrities who live on its street. [More]

Friday, July 22, 2005

Church wages web war with 'Da Vinci Code'

The Catholic Church is taking on the best-selling mystical thriller The Da Vinci Code by launching a website that challenges the basis of the book. In an unprecedented step, it is using the Feast of St Mary Magdalene today to give enthusiasts of the book access to what the church claims is the correct version of the saint's history. In Dan Brown's multi-million selling novel - which investigates the whereabouts of the Holy Grail, the cup which Christ is said to have used at the Last Supper - it is claimed that Mary Magdalene was in fact Jesus' wife and that they had children. [More]

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Da Vinci Code author backs claims that Jesus was married with children

Author Dan Brown is set to reignite controversy over his besteller The Da Vinci Code today, by defending claims he makes in the book that Jesus Christ married and had a child. In a rare television interview to be broadcast tonight on the National Geographic Channel, Brown reaffirms his “belief” in book’s key theory – that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and their French-born child started a blood line stretching to the present day. Critics have denounced the new claims as “bonkers”. The Da Vinci Code, first published in 2003, has sparked worldwide religious debate. The quasi-historical thriller claims Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper holds the key to the Holy Grail. According to the book, the Grail is not a chalice, as traditionally believed, but Mary Magdalene. [More]

Friday, July 15, 2005

Cashing in on Code

For a city not usually given to slavish displays of hospitality towards American visitors, Paris has bent over backwards in the past two weeks to accommodate the filming of the literary blockbuster The Da Vinci Code. The Louvre, the Ritz, the Eiffel Tower and St Sulpice Church have all been sealed off for various periods in the past fortnight as director Ron Howard — and a cast that includes Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou — set about the $US100 million ($A133 million) job of committing the thriller to celluloid. The film set is one of the largest Paris has ever seen. [More]

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

British company to perform every word from the Bard

The Royal Shakespeare Company in Britain will embark on a year-long project to stage every play, sonnet and poem ever written by William Shakespeare. All of it will be presented at Stratford-upon-Avon starting April 2006 and ending April 2007. Michael Boyd, artistic director of the company, called it the "most extensive celebration of Shakespeare's genius." The RSC announced details of the massive project on Monday with big name talent to attract an estimated 600,000 visitors – Dame Judy Dench will perform in a new musical adaptation of The Merry Wives of Windsor, Sir Ian McKellen will execute the title role in King Lear while Patrick Stewart will take the stage in The Tempest. [More]

DVD Tuesday: A Very Long Engagement with Audrey Tautou

A Very Long Engagement

Both epic and intimate, A Very Long Engagement reunites Audrey Tautou and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the star and director of the hugely popular Amelie. A young woman named Mathilde (Tautou, Happenstance)separated from her lover by World War I refuses to believe he's been killed and launches an investigation into his fate--an investigation that spins in all directions, creating dozens of miniature stories (including that of an Italian prostitute avenging the death of her own lover by elaborate means) that shift to and fro in time. The dazzling curlicues of narrative put brutality and tenderness back to back, shifting between crushing inevitabilities and miraculous rescues with deft storytelling skill and the lush visual style of the director of Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children. Through it all, Tautou--fierce and luminous--anchors the movie effortlessly. She's among the most emotionally engaging actresses in cinema, with the kind of expressive beauty that transcends language. A gorgeous, far-reaching film; the huge cast also includes Jodie Foster (The Silence of the Lambs), Gaspard Ulliel (Strayed), and Dominique Pinon (Alien: Resurrection). [Order 'A Very Long Engagement' on Today!]

Sunday, July 10, 2005

FEATURE - Opus Dei shuns Da Vinci Code image

MADRID0 (Reuters) - A gold seal emblazoned on the stone altar of a house in a wealthy Madrid neighbourhood reminds the young men of Opus Dei of their mission. The sign, a cross locked within a circle, was chosen by the Catholic group's founder, Saint Jose Maria Escriva, to embody his vision of Christianity at the heart of the world. "This cross is a reminder the Founder exhorted us to emulate the first Christians, moving in the world and converting others with our faith," said Guillermo, one of around a dozen men living in the comfortable but unobtrusive residence. [More]

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

More 'Platinum' Bettany Pics

More images of Paul Bettany have popped up online, here Paul and his wife Jennifer Connelly are seen in New York City. Paul and his platinum blonde 'doo' are quite possibly the look we shall see in his role as 'Silas' in 'The Da Vinci Code'.

Interest soars in solving the CIA's 'Kryptos'

For 15 years, a sculpture known as Kryptos has stood in a courtyard inside the heavily guarded Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Its coded message, made up of thousands of letters on a copper scroll, has stumped code breakers for 15 years. And although it's been seven years since anyone has made any progress cracking it, there's been an explosion of renewed interest in Kryptos since writer Dan Brown hid references to it on the jacket of The Da Vinci Code -- one of the hottest books in North America. [More]

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Ian McKellen Makes Britain's Finest Actors List

Ian McKellen has made the list of Britain's Finest Actors. The List also includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier & Peter Sellers. The full results of the poll will be broadcast on British TV on July 11. [More]

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Vatican's dilemma

It was enough to make a cardinal kick a hole in a stained glass window: There they were, stacks of copies of "The Da Vinci Code" displayed as bold as sin in the windows of Catholic bookstores along the avenue leading into St. Peter's Square. For months, Vatican bureaucrats fumed at the sight. Then, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone lashed out. "I think," he said, "that I have a responsibility to clear things up, to unmask the cheap lies contained in a book like that." [More]

Lights! Action! Sacrilege?

In Hollywood, as the old adage goes, bad books often make great movies. In fact, the pulpier the fiction, the better the final result (think "The Bourne Identity" or "The Bridgesof Madison County"), because then the movie adapters feel no qualms about making significant improvements. So it'll be fascinating to see how closely the team behind the 1995 smash "Apollo 13" - star Tom Hanks, director Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer - will hew to Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," which started production in Paris on Wednesday. [More]

More Da Vinci Code Set Pics! scored some more images from the Da Vinci Code set in France. These show Tom Hanks in full Robert Langdon mode. As well as some of the crew including Ron Howard himself.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Decode it with Dan

It became a publishing phenomenon in 2003 and raked up a roaring controversy. The Da Vinci Code eventually sold over 17 million copies in more than 40 languages around the world and filming has just begun on the $100-million movie adaptation, starring biggies like Tom Hanks and Alfred Molina. But was the Code all fact or fiction? Was Jesus Christ married? Does his bloodline still exist? Author Dan Brown himself faces the camera to hold forth on all this and more in National Geographic Channel’s Unlocking Da Vinci’s Code: The Full Story, airing on Sunday. [More]

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Da Vinci Code: Inside The Filming

From First Coast News: PARIS -- A controversial book is hitting the big screen. Now we're getting a sneak peek into filming of "The Da Vinci Code." Director Ron Howard is leading stars Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou around the Louvre Museum in Paris. The shooting is only taking place during nights and off-business hours. Police rerouted traffic to allow some scenes to be filmed. The movie is set to be released next May.

Click here for some video footage!

Da Vinci Code Set Report!

From larryfilm on the IMDB Messageboards: Just so that you know: yesterday, Wednesday June 29 2005 was the 1st official shooting day for DVC at Paris' exclusive, upscale Place Vendome. I was there by accident with some friends from University of Kansas, around 9:00PM. We bumped into a pretty big film crew that was prepping the first shot. Before the very imposing security detail and Paris PD evacuated the square around 10:00pm, we were able to appreciate the scope of the production.

First of all, for those of you not familiar with Paris, Place Vendome is a pretty large, very elegant square surrounded by exclusive 19th century 6-story limestone "palaces", including world famous Ritz Hotel. The square itself is pretty much void of cars and pavement is in small cobblestone, adding a feeling of "chic" and magnificence to it, so typical of the City of Light.

There were no less than 80 to 100 crew members and they had 2 latest model PFX-M Millenium Panaflex/Panavision cams with Hylén System (so told me a DP's assistant): "A" and "B" cams, each with their own 8-people dedicated crew) with LCD secondary viewfinder to help the focus puller check at all time the frame's accuracy (focus, lighting, etc. A major remote controlled crane (60-ft long) was sitting on tracks perpendicular to the Ritz Hotel Main entrance. That area being already cordoned off and shielded by an impressive security detail, we decided to wait as much as we could across the square, where I could briefly talked to P.As (Production Assistants). All of them had some kind of Clearance Badge that was sporting the new DVC logo/initials (the one from the poster) and a color code depending on which restriction access level there were. Two of those guys has the time to tell me that after shooting all night on Place Vendome, the crew would move to the Louvre this Thursday night (6/30) for a long 2-week shoot, before security arrived and literally kicked us out. Said P.As told us that next week they would shoot as well around St Sulpice (but no specific date yet) and that in the near future (thanks for being that specific!) producers will request "car driving extras" for Robert Langdon faked escape from the Louvre, when dozen of Paris PD cars are chasing the big truck on which RL allegedly jumped and hid. I'll go rent a car right away!!

Anyway, while we were pushed outside the perimeter, thus unable to see anything, they started lighting heavily the square (very impressive) and we caught a glimpse of director Ron Howard's Mercedes 500 SL limo which stopped 10 yards from us: he just walked to the set and with the casual way he was dressed (a worn cap, t-shirt, jeans, sneakers), who would think this was one of the world most famous and respected directors?

BTW, we couldn't see any member of the cast who where brought on set by a small motorcade of black Mercedes minivans whith heavily tinted windows. Bummer! We'll try to go to the Louvre tonight (where there are setting up 13 Motion Picture Power generators and prepping a very large parking area to accomodate the 40-truck transportation department + a huge tent for catering/craft service that one P.A. told me can accomodate 150+ crew/cast member at the same time).

I'll come back later in the week to add more on site news. BTW, for those of you wondering, pics and video filming where banned, evene with cellphones (security was everywhere, but unable to prevent me to grab precious insider info from P.As!), thus I did not have a chance to even take one or two pics. I'll try harder next time and for sure will be more prepared! Also from what I could see though at Place Vendome, there was some presence of US media such as NBC's Access Hollywwod, CBS' Entertainment Tonight, and E!, thus I guess you will see a lot of visuals confirming my "scoop"!

UPDATE: Yesterday, Thursday June 30, the DVC cast and crew was filming street scenes on Paris upscale Rue de Rivoli in the French capital 1st District (1er arrondissement), right along the Louvre Museum. We were on set (well, actually "by" the set for the production security detail made sure that passersby would not stop and go on with their walking) around 11:00pm, and we could see one huge crane with several HMI flood literally "sun lighting" the street.

As we found a "safe" spot at a street corner were security and PAs where too busy to tell us to keep moving on, Paris PD TCM (Police Dept Traffic Control Management) just stopped traffic in front of us. Then a huge filming truck with 10-crew members and director Ron Howard on board and additional Keno-flo (= neon soft lighting) came in from a perpendicular street, with two "A" and "B" Panavision 35 mm cams on it, and the cast car (the super mini-sized "Smart") attached to it thanks to a low bed that gives the feeling that the car is actually being driven by the actors. Behind the Smart car were several crew and extras cars, creating a fake, messy traffic jam.

Anyway, we were no more than 10 yards from the actual shooting and could clearly see Audrey Tautou/Sophie Neveu driving and obviously having an animated conversation with a slim and tanned (yes, tanned !) Tom Hanks/Robert Langdon. They reshot the scene several times. Very nice to have a close up of the actors yet the scene itself was not particularly interesting for we could not hear the dialogues...

Tonight (Friday 1st of July), additional scenes will be shot around the Louvre, including Robert Langdon's arrival to the crime scene (well the driving part at least). Can't wait to see Tom Hanks testing his driving skills in Paris nightmare traffic!

New Cast Added To 'Da Vinci Code'

French actors Etienne Chicot and Jean-Pierre Marielle have been cast in 'The Da Vinci Code'. Chicot will play an Opus Dei member and Jean-Pierre Marielle has captured the pivital role of Jacques Saunière. Saunière, whose murder is what launches the events in the book, was one of the hotly debated casting topics in 'Da Vinci Code' chatrooms and messageboards.

Take a look at our Cast Page for more information on the entire cast.

Dan Brown stirs discussion

Monsignor Tony Doherty doesn't know whether to bless or curse the author of the best selling novel The Da Vinci Code. On one hand, he says Dan Brown has caused more people to become interested in the church and the scriptures, but on the other hand the author has made factual mistakes. "He makes quite egregious errors which annoy people who have respect for the scripture," he said. "The thesis that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a child is actually absurd ... but here contrary to all evidence [he says] they have a child and this is a secret held over by wonderful people like Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo, curators of the Louvre and Walt Disney." [More]