BY DAVID V BARRETT
THE FILM of the controversial novel The Da Vinci Code might be watered down to avoid offending Catholics.
Officials from Sony Pictures, who are making the film starring Tom Hanks, Sir Ian McKellen and Audrey Tautou, have held discussions with Catholics and other Christians to try to find ways of altering the storyline of the film from that of the book.
At the heart of the book is the idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that they had a child. The early Christian Church suppressed knowledge of this, and of the whole concept of the “sacred feminine”, and the Catholic Church has covered up the truth ever since.
Author Dan Brown took most of the basic concepts of The Da Vinci Code from a 1982 non-fiction book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, which hypothesised that a secret society, the Priory of Sion, was set up to protect the sacred bloodline of Jesus and the Magdalene. The true Holy Grail was not a cup, the san graal, but the sang real or Royal Blood. Baigent and Leigh are currently suing Dan Brown for plagiarism; their case is expected to reach the High Court in London next February, three months before the scheduled release of the film.
Sony officials are believed to be considering making any reference to the supposed child of Jesus and Mary Magdalene “more ambiguous”.
“If the script took those very strong assertions that Brown makes, and softened them, made them more theoretical rather than bald statements of fact, that might do something,” said Amy Welborn, Catholic author of one of many books attacking the novel, last week. But Carl Olsen, co-author of another Catholic book, The Da Vinci Hoax, disagrees. “There’s no way you can take out the central point of the novel,” he said, pointing out that many devout Christians would be offended by the film “unless they make a movie that bears a pale resemblance to the book, in which case they’d have a lot of irritated fans”.
However, the studio is believed to be considering removing any reference to the conservative Catholic organisation Opus Dei from the film. Opus Dei feels particularly aggrieved by its misrepresentation in the novel.