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'The Da Vinci Code' will open Cannes

  |   Jan. 23, 2006 at 4:52 PM
CANNES, France, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Oscar-winning director Ron Howard's "The Da Vinci Code" has been chosen to open France's prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

The film based on Dan Brown's bestseller and starring Tom Hanks, Jean Reno, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen and Alfred Molina will be screened at Cannes May 17, two days before its U.S. and British theatrical release, the BBC reported.

Brown's novel about the search for the meaning of the Holy Grail has sold more than 30 million copies in 40 languages, the BBC said.

A British tabloid Monday quoted a member of the Roman Catholic group Opus Dei voicing extreme displeasure over the conservative organization's portrayal in the film.

"This film portrays us as criminals who have kept secret a lie for 2,000 years," an Opus Dei spokesman from Rome told the Daily Mirror. "This isn't true.

"We cannot exclude legal action," he said.

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