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'Da Vinci Code' filming at London cathedral

Producers of the on-screen version of the controversial novel, the Da Vinci Code, will film scenes for two weeks in August at the Lincoln Cathedral in England.
( [email protected] ) May 28, 2005 07:01 PM EDT

Producers of the on-screen version of the controversial novel, the Da Vinci Code, will film scenes for two weeks in August at the Lincoln Cathedral in England.

The cathedral will be made to look like Westminster Abbey, where the action from the book takes place. Specifically, the nave, cloister and chapter house will altered, according to Canon Gavin Kirk, Precentor (choir director) of Lincoln. He admits that allowing the filming to take place could be controversial.

"There will be those who think that anything to do with The Da Vinci Code is not the sort of thing a Christian church should be involved in, but our line is that the Gospel is much bigger than that. If we can get people talking about why The Da Vinci Code is not true, then that has to be good. It requires far more of a suspension of disbelief to accept the line of the The Da Vinci Code than it does the Gospels," he said, according to the Times of London.

The novel has ignited controversy during its two years on bookshelves. It has been criticized by clergy and theologians for its polemic take on biblical issues, such as the theory that that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child with her. Various groups have written books with the purpose of refuting many of the controversial assertions in the novel.

The Lincoln Cathedral, located about 100 miles north of London, is known for its "spooky atmosphere," which is created by irregular masonry angles, according to the Times. In 1185, it was partially destroyed by an earthquate and has been damaged over the years by irregular fires.

The Cathedral Chief Executive Roy Benthham is excited about the filming.

"With (book) sales worldwide in excess of 20 million, the film is sure to generate an enormous amount of interest in the cathedral and the city of Lincoln," he said according to ITV.

Although officials from London's Westminster Abbey chose not to be a filming locale, they are anticipating many questions about the movie by tourists and parishioners, according to the Times. The Church is creating a DVD and is training marshals and wardens to explain where the Da Vinci Code makes mistakes.

The movie will star Tom Hanks as the book's Robert Langdon. French Actress Audrey Tautou and Sir Ian MckKellen will also be part of the cast.