5 Things You Didn’t Know About
The Movie The Da Vinci Code
By Jim Bauer
Entertainment Correspondent – ASKMEN.com
1. The real Mona Lisa does not appear in the film
Gaining access to the Louvre Museum — a key setting in the book — was hard enough, but thanks to French President Jacques Chirac, the production was able to film in the coveted location. However, the critical feature of the Louvre, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, was off limits no matter what. Since film lights would ruin the painting, a replica was fabricated, and the room that houses the painting was used for storage.
2. The producers originally wanted to adapt the book for a season of 24
Ron Howard’s and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment originally tried to bid on the rights to the book — but they weren’t after the film rights. Imagine, which produces the hit TV series 24, had plans to develop a season of the show around the book. The idea was quickly nixed by Dan Brown and his people, but when Sony bought the film rights to the book for US $6 million, they wanted to put it in sure hands. Accordingly, they hired Imagine, which has produced such acclaimed movies as A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13.
3. Opus Dei tried to keep its name out of the movie
The secretive Catholic group Opus Dei, which is featured in the book and which Dan Brown claims to be more than fiction, tried to get Sony to leave it out of the movie. Efforts at persuasion failed, but Opus Dei is trying to put its best face forward, which is something of a departure for a group that shunned attention so much that members were discouraged from publicly announcing their affiliation. The group is launching its own media campaign of sorts; it is changing its website, encouraging some members to speak out and promoting a blog by one of its priests in Rome.
4. Albinos are upset with the film trailer
Opus Dei isn’t the only group to be upset about the book and the movie. In the book, the assassin is an albino monk. Much to the chagrin of the National Organization of Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH), the filmmakers have decided to keep the albino character. According to NOAH, this depiction is part of a long line of Hollywood albino bad guys (ranging from such films as Lethal Weapon to The Matrix) that promote negative stereotypes of albinos.
5. The French President offered casting advice
Shooting abroad can be challenging, but with the aid of French President Jacques Chirac, many challenges were overcome. However, that help came with a price. Chirac is rumored to have urged Ron Howard and Brian Grazer to up the paycheck for Jean Reno, the French actor who plays detective Fache. That request, which was rejected, wasn’t quite as brazen as the casting advice the President gave Howard and Grazer when he suggested his daughter’s best friend for the role of Sophie Neveu, which eventually went to Audrey Tautou.