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For those who'll be heading on out to see the movie version of The Da Vinci Code, here's something to keep an eye out for (besides Rosslyn Chapel etc). Apparently Clive Prince and Lynn Picknett, authors of The Templar Revelation, make a cameo appearance during one of the London scenes - Clive tells me it's a "blink and you'll miss it" appearance:
The place to look out for is when you see Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou on the top deck of a London bus - we're the passengers immediately behind them. If the plot's the same as the book it'll be towards the end of the movie, getting from Temple Church to the climax at Westminster Abbey. They filmed some close-ups and reaction shots but who knows whether they'll use them - you might end up just seeing our elbows.
The question that begs to be asked, is why Ron Howard and Dan Brown thought Clive and Lynn being in a scene would be a good "in-joke" to have in the film? Perusing the recent London copyright case judgement (PDF) to see the big influences on Brown's research for TDVC probably provides the answer. Clive and Lynn's new book The Sion Revelation is out now (Amazon US and UK), and continues their research on the Priory of Sion and the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery - we'll be featuring some of this in the next issue of Sub Rosa.
The Da Vinci Code movie arrives this week in theatres, and the publicity drive is growing (during the recent Google quest this site was getting more than 12,000 individual visitors in a single day). Sony Pictures recently held a press conference at which they showed 35 minutes of the movie, followed by questions to Tom Hanks, who plays the hero of the story (Robert Langdon). It's quite a worthwhile read, with Hanks shifting between the usual one-line jokes and personal thoughts on the religious controversy which has surrounded the book (and shortly the movie no doubt).
There's a news story currently getting quite a bit of play in the mainstream media regarding the theft of the bones of the famous Native American leader 'Geronimo' by the Yale secret society Skull and Bones. For those interested in checking out the original source of information, it is this article in the current Yale Alumni magazine (also available in its original format as a PDF). There's also a more skeptical article here.
Skull and Bones counts both U.S. presidential contenders in 2004 (George W. Bush and John Kerry), as well as numerous other important individuals in high finance and government, among its members. Interestingly, in his investigation of the society Antony C. Sutton described their philosophy as Hegelian, in that they strove to control opposite sides of a conflict, in order to control the outcome (perfectly fitting the most recent U.S. presidential election). It has long been rumoured that they stole the bones of Geronimo, but this new revelation adds some circumstantial evidence to that rumour. From clues Dan Brown has given (as described in my book), it's quite likely that Skull and Bones will play a part in his next book.
One of the central props in the storyline of The Da Vinci Code is the 'cryptex', said to be designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. There are some modern makers of these artistic safety boxes though, like Justin Nevins who even supplied some of his creations to Dan Brown (receiving a glowing testimonial in return). Turns out that Justin was also very close to being the manufacturer of the prop for the movie, through a very creative bit of self-promotion - you can read about it in this recent news story. Anyone interested in having their very own personal cryptex can order one through Justin's website Cryptex.org.
As we get closer to the release of the movie version of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, the media once again begins publishing a growing number of DVC-related articles. In the Guardian there's a very readable review of the book by a 'Da Vinci Virgin' (not many left around these days) who just happens to also be an Oxford Don. Half a world away, Brisbane's Courier Mail looks at the golden days of Brown - a summary which investigates how Brown hit the jackpot with DVC, and also how the movie is set to re-ignite the whole debate once again.
Authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh have asked for more time to pay their court costs in the wake of the Da Vinci copyright court case in London. The co-authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail have been ordered to disclose their financial details to the courts, and have been told by Justice Smith that they risk being declared bankrupt.
Sony pictures has reportedly snubbed a request from Catholic group Opus Dei to get a private advance showing of the film version of The Da Vinci Code:
Opus Dei's UK spokesman Jack Valero says: "We told Sony we would like to see the film in advance but our requests have been ignored. Having seen the trailer the film looks pretty horrible, especially the depiction of the Opus Dei monk. I hope the film as a whole is mature enough not to offend anyone."
A little sensitive, hmmm?
The Scotsman has an interesting piece regarding the enigmatic Rosslyn Chapel cubes and the alleged musical code that can be found inscribed on their surfaces. There's some interesting history discussed in the article, and the article also gives you the chance to listen to the music that has been 'decoded' which has been recorded by a choral group. Thanks Kat for the heads-up.
As if we weren't far enough down the Da Vinci Code rabbit hole, a surprise revelation has shocked just about everyone involved in the recent Da Vinci copyright court case in London. It has emerged that Justice Peter Smith - known affectionately as 'Smithy' - inserted a ciphered message within his judgement on the case. It begins with the two words "Smithy Code", and then is followed by what appears to be 31 random letters. I've set up a page dedicated to the Smithy Code, in which I list the 25 letters and my thoughts on possible solutions - if anyone wishes to add their opinion or solution feel free to go ahead.
Update: The Smithy Code is cracked.
Dan Brown made a rare appearance on Sunday night, speaking at a small event in his local area of New Hampshire. The event is covered quite well here, and also in this article as well. MSNBC also has a little bit of video of Brown speaking at the event (looks quite professional, I wonder if the whole thing will show up some time?).
There was very little in the way of Solomon Key-related discussion, with the only mention being when Brown explained the delay in publication with this: ""I'm in no hurry. I just have to write a great follow-up and it will be done when it's done."