Ask A Stupid Question.....
Dan Brown, author of The DaVinci Code, the best-selling novel containing serious historical scholarship.....
(Sorry, had to stop giggling)
Anyway, before Mr. Brown's 2003 novel The DaVinci Code, he had penned a previous "The Church Is A Sinister Conspiracy Spanning Centuries!!" best-seller called Angels and Demons, and like the The DaVinci Code, this one's going to be made into a movie also. The DaVinci Code was a splendid testament to the adage that "Heresies never die, they just get repackaged": the authors of 1982's The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail had floated the The DaVinci Code's air biscuit of a plot two decades earlier:
The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail deals with a theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married, had a child and the bloodline continues to this day, with a secret society protecting their heirs against wicked conspiracies enacted by the [Catholic] Church.
Two of the three said authors, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, sued Brown, but lost both the suit and appeal - though, it would seem, not so much because Brown wasn't guilty of lifting huge chunks of his novel from their book, but because of the precedent that would be set if he were convicted:
Sarah Ahmad, an intellectual property lawyer at Allen & Overy, said: "The decision comes as no great surprise. A victory for Baigent and Leigh would have introduced a new legal precedent with significant ramifications for the entertainment and publishing industry."
From what I've read, Angels and Demons is even farther away from anything possibly resembling reality than The DaVinci Code, but as long as the religious folks are the bad guys, you'll have a hit on your hands (unless you offend Muslims, in which case you'll have a price on your head).
Professionals and artists that they are, Mr. Brown and Sony, the company filming Angels and Demons, are not content to a) build some realistic sets, or b) follow the decade old trend of filming in Toronto or Vancouver, and allowing those easy-on-the-film-budget cities to pass for downtown Rome (of course, Toronto looks nothing like Rome, but it doesn't really pass for Chicago, either). No, for movies detailing Jesus's secret married life to Mary Magdalen and the centuries of sinister plots by the Catholic Church involving hundreds of people that were somehow missed by two previous millenia of historians, these folks demand realism and accuracy. So naturally, they asked the Vatican and the diocese of Rome to film scenes for the movie inside the Vatican and other Roman churches. However, the Vatican denied their request:
Father Marco Fibbi, spokesman for the diocese of Rome, said: "Normally we read the script, but this time it was not necessary. The name Dan Brown was enough."
While most folks were still trying to figure out what, in the name of all that is holy, made Brown and Sony think the Vatican would go for this, a new development in the story took place. What you're about to read is a transcript of Father Fibbi's side of a phone call he made after conferring with Pope Benedict XVI, where he indicates that the Vatican is reconsidering their decision. Remember, this is a Tom And Jerry exclusive:
“Hello, Mr. Brown, this is Father Fibbi again……No, I haven’t received your signed copy of Jesus Had Two Mommies yet, but I’ll make sure to check the mail for it....
“Anyway, I just wanted you to know that we’ve had a change of heart about this whole 'using the Vatican for a movie set' idea....well, no, we still didn't like The DaVinci Code....well, for starters, the scene where Tom Hank's character states that "just because the figure to Jesus' right in 'The Last Supper' doesn't have breasts, it doesn't mean it's not a woman, it's just that Jesus was apparently more of 'legs and butt' man"..........I mean, c'mon, the paintings of that period tended to portray the female form a little rounder, so DaVinci would definitely have given Mary Magdalen at least a pair of perky C-cups....
"Yes, I agree, why niggle over little details, and we should indeed be happy to contribute to getting people interested in the Church.....yes, we might be able to supply some monks to act as extras for the ’self-flagellation’ montage sequence....
“Well, as a matter of fact, there is one small thing you could do for us, and, as we understand it, since the whole movie industry operates on a ‘we scratch your back, you scratch ours’ principle, there's this little project we have in mind..... you may be aware that the Pontiff is a rather prolific writer......um, no, he and Garry Wills aren’t real close, but.......well, no he’s not interested in co-authoring a book exploring the possibility of Mary Magdalen’s bi-sexuality.......
"No, see, he’s written this little screenplay that he’d like to have filmed at Sony......no, it’s not the one about Jesus and the 12 apostles all being gay....
“No, his Holiness’ screenplay centers on a marginally talented but hugely ambitious writer who, having no really original ideas, decides to brazenly plagiarize a 20 year-old “tell-all” kind of book about a sensational-but-preposterous “secret history" of an important religious figure, and turn it into a cash cow of a book and movie and....”
Wow. I can't wait to see the Pope's movie, and glad that the phone call got mysteriously cut off - I hate plot spoilers!