ROME – Director Ron Howard claimed Sunday that the Vatican interfered with efforts to get permits to shoot certain scenes of his “Angels & Demons” religious thriller in Rome — a charge the Vatican said was purely a publicity stunt.
The film, which stars Tom Hanks and is based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown, has its world premiere Monday in Rome.
“Angels & Demons” combines an ancient secret brotherhood called the Illuminati, a papal conclave and a high-tech weapon threatening to destroy the Vatican.
At a press conference Sunday, Howard said he hadn’t sought cooperation from the Vatican based on the opposition he encountered filming “The Da Vinci Code,” another Brown novel that angered many Catholic leaders.
But he said the Vatican nevertheless exerted influence regarding his filming permits, and he was told it would not be possible even to shoot scenes in Rome that had churches in the background.
“When you come to film in Rome, the official statement to you is that the Vatican has no influence,” he said. “Everything progressed very smoothly, but unofficially a couple of days before we were to start filming in several of our locations, it was explained to us that through back channels and so forth that the Vatican had exerted some influence.”
“Was I surprised? No. Am I a little frustrated at times? Sure,” he said. Continue reading