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A Da Vinci Disclaimer

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William Crawley | 09:48 UK time, Saturday, 20 May 2006

McKellen.jpgCommercially, the makers of The Da Vinci Code have been treading a fine line lately. On the one hand, the controversy surrounding the film helps to build an audience. On the other hand, they need to be sensitive to America's deeply-held religious views.

Which means, when you're doing live interviews that are televised across the nation, be careful what you say, and -- for heaven's sake -- don't rub it in. You can just imagine the Talking Points handed to the cast and director by their marketing people as they prepared to appear live on NBC's Today show this week: It's a movie, a story -- not an attack. It asks big questions -- nothing wrong with asking questions. People are clever enough to deal with big questions, aren't they? Nobody should feel threatened by a movie raising important questions. And discussing those questions after the movie is a good thing. After all, it's just a movie. Not an attack. Etc. Etc.

But the British actor Sir Ian McKellen, bless him, is immune to those distinctively American sensitivites. The interviewer, Matt Lauer, mentioned the calls from some religious groups that a disclaimer should be placed at the beginning of this movie saying it is a work of fiction, and asked the cast if they would be comfortable with that. While the American cast members looked nervously at each other, Ian McKellen let rip:

Well, I've often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. I mean, walking on water, it takes an act of faith. And I have faith in this movie.

Then, I think, Sir Ian must have remembered those Talking Points from his press officer, or perhaps he heard Ron Howard gulping just four seats away. He quickly added:

Not that it's true, not that it's factual, but that it's a jolly good story. And I think audiences are clever enough and bright enough to separate out fact and fiction, and discuss the thing after they've seen it.

Needless to say, a website documenting liberal bias in the American media has archived the comments. You can watch the interview here.


I would like to add that the Officially sanctioned Catholic Church [in China] has also condemned the film and the book [as per a BBC Report].

Plus it mocks albinos.

No, come on - it's a ridiculous notion that we need a disclaimer to help us work out what is fact and what is fiction, and classifying a piece of art that way borders on insane.

Mark Lawson had a fantastic bit in The Guardian on this very question.

The Da Vinci Code is fiction but it is a fiction in bad taste.

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