ROME The Italian Catholic Church has refused to
let a new movie based on a Dan Brown novel be filmed in
churches in Rome after the author's "The Da Vinci Code" novel
and film outraged the Vatican.
"Angels and Demons," starring Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor,
is the prequel to Brown's best-selling novel. The book is set
mostly in Rome and the Vatican.
Filming began this month at some of the capital's most
famous sights including Piazza Navona and Piazza del Popolo,
but entry was denied to the churches of Santa Maria del Popolo
and Santa Maria della Vittoria.
The two famous Rome churches are among around 700 places of
worship that are owned by the Italian interior ministry and run
by Italy's Church.
Archdiocese spokesman Rev. Marco Fibbi said the interior
ministry had received a request from the film's producers to
use the churches. The interior ministry asked the archdiocese
for its opinion and it was negative.
"I don't think they would have asked us directly because
they knew what the answer would be," Fibbi told Reuters.
"The Da Vinci Code" outraged the Vatican and some Catholics
because of its storyline that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and
had children, creating a royal blood line that Church officials
kept secret for centuries.
Christians are taught that Jesus never married, was
crucified and rose from the dead.
Santa Maria del Popolo is home of two masterpieces by
Caravaggio -- "The Crucifixion of St. Peter" and "The
Conversion of St. Paul."
Fibbi said permission to film in Italian churches is
granted in exceptional circumstances and usually if the
production is compatible with religious sentiment or if it is a
documentary about religion or art.
(Reporting by Olivia Scarlett and Philip Pullella)