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Da Vinci Prequel Banned from Churches

The diocese of Rome has banned the producers of the film adaptation of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons from filming in any of its churches:

"It's a film that treats religious issues in a way that contrasts with common religious sentiment," Monsignor Marco Fibbi, the diocese spokesman, told AP.

"We would be helping them create a work that might well be beautiful but that does not conform to our view," he added.

The producers were hoping to film in the churches of Santa Maria del Popolo and Santa Maria della Vittoria.

In other news, some photos from on location have made their way onto the Internet.

Angels and Demons Cast

After a long break from any Dan Brown-related news, some word from Hollywood on the cast for the film version of Angels and Demons:

This past week a couple of new faces were added to the project. First, Ayelet Zurer (Munich) signed on as the female lead, pairing up with Hanks’ character while trying to solve her father’s murder. Next, a bit more of a known face came into play as we learned that Ewan McGregor was in negotiations to play the role of the Pope’s closest aide, Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca, who initially helps Langdon with the investigation.

Angels & Demons is scheduled for production beginning June 5th (for a May 2009 release).

Mysteries of the Great Seal

A new Associated Press story doing the rounds attempts to debunk some of the hype and conspiracy theories which surround (literally, see the image!) the Great Seal of the United States. I wrote about the seal in my book The Guide to Dan Brown's The Solomon Key, as Dan Brown had indicated that the emblem would be a part of the plotline of his next book. For those interested, I've excerpted some of it beneath...just a small part of a lot of fascinating 'hidden history' of the United States which you'll find in my book (which you can pick up from Amazon US and Amazon UK):

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HISTORY OF THE GREAT SEAL

Before adjourning on the ground-breaking day of July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution that a committee be formed to design a seal for the newly independent United States. The members of that committee were Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson – three of the five men who worked on the Declaration of Independence, two of whom would go on to become President. However, it would take another six years before the Great Seal of the United States came into being, with two more committees and fourteen men eventually employed to establish the icon.

The first committee of Franklin, Adams and Jefferson initially worked on Biblical and classical themes, including the ‘Children of Israel in the Wilderness’, but with little success. They then employed the talents of French portrait artist, Pierre Eugene du Simitiere, who had some experience in designing seals. However, the du Simitiere-influenced design was rejected by Congress on August 20th 1776, although a couple of the features later became a part of the official seal – the infamous Eye of Providence within a triangle, and the motto E Pluribus Unum

Solomon Key Manuscript "Close"?

The WSJ has some promising news about The Solomon Key from Doubleday's Stephen Rubin:

Now, the publisher is hinting that a manuscript is close. "Dan Brown has a very specific release date for the publication of his new book, and when the book is published, his readers will see why," says Stephen Rubin, president of Bertelsmann's Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, whose Doubleday imprint publishes Mr. Brown. Mr. Rubin declined further comment.

Rubin seems to be hinting at a specific reason behind the publication date. Is it likely to be a day of importance in American history or politics? July 4th, the start of the election campaign...what do you think?

Another Solomon Key Report

AFP is carrying a new story about The Solomon Key, although there's little new in it. Some have got excited over the mention of Brown's 'posting' to his website about the book, but that particular part of his site has been there for a few years now. The one interesting part of the story is that DB was in contact with Masons in the Washington, D.C. area:

Brown "had a contact with us but then cut it short. We are all sitting around waiting for his book to come out but nobody knows what he's going to say," Akram Elias, grand master-elect of Washington's Grand Lodge, told AFP.

Interesting about the 'cutting short' part. Was this because DB had enough material, or has he changed plans with the new novel? This report follows on from previous stories that he had also been in contact with senior Mormons in Salt Lake City, another apparent topic to be featured in The Solomon Key.

Howard in CERN

Ron Howard has reportedly visited CERN in Switzerland as part of his research for the 'prequel' to his movie version of The Da Vinci Code, based on Dan Brown's Angels and Demons:

Landua took Howard and his staff to the factory where scientists make antimatter “and they wanted to know, was it true what Dan Brown wrote about antimatter.” In fact, Brown’s 480-page novel, published in 2000, is riddled with scientific inaccuracies. Landua pointed out some of the errors to Howard and proposed a more plausible scenario. “They recorded what I said over lunch and I later heard that every word of it has made it into the script.” Cern said a documentary on the facility’s work should appear as a special feature when the DVD version of Angels & Demons is released in 2009.

Wonder how they'll adapt the story without the antimatter (at least as Dan sees it)?

Holy Blood Author Passes Away

RLCResearch.com is reporting that Richard Leigh, co-author with Michael Baigent and Henry Lincoln of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, died last Wednesday, the 21st of November, aged 64. Leigh had been in the news over the past couple of years due to the high profile plagiarism court action against Dan Brown (in regards to copying themes from Holy Blood, Holy Grail for his bestseller The Da Vinci Code). I haven't seen confirmation from official sources of his death, but have heard from a number of people in the alternative community about it (heart attack being blamed) - I will update if/when I hear official word.

Hanks for Angels and Demons

Columbia Pictures has announced that the film version of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons will begin shooting in February, and will once again see Tom Hanks reprising (preprising?) the role of Robert Langdon. Ron Howard will also, once again, direct the film.

Speculation is for a Summer 2009 release. Putting on a marketing hat for a second, does this suggest a realistic release time for Dan Brown's next book? Marketing 101 would suggest giving the public a few years breathing space, and then ramping up the Dan Brown publicity machine for multiple releases. Although, that would make a 6 year gap between books! Guess we'll have to wait and see...

Dan Brown Donation

The Children's Museum of New Hampshire announced this week that they have received a $100,000 contribution from the Dan and Blythe Brown Foundation.

The Browns' contribution is in partnership with the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and will be used to move the museum from Portsmouth to 60 Washington St. in Dover — the former Butterfield Gym...

..."We have been fortunate to receive commitments that are greater than we had expected from companies — and now Dan Brown," said the museum's executive director, Denise Doleac, "and I think that's because they see something in the Children's Museum of New Hampshire that just resonates.

Local boy does good (and then some), and gives back to his community. Sounds like a movie script...

George Washington Masonic Memorial

A website called "The Contrarian" has an excellent photo tour of the George Washington Masonic Memorial. As I discuss in my book, the GW Masonic Memorial could well be a location used by Dan Brown in The Solomon Key, for a number of good reasons. Well worth a visit to take in some of the sights (even if via your computer monitor).

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