Stars Help Crack Open 'The Da Vinci Code'
May 12, 2006

With murder, mystery and a centuries-old conspiracy, the highly anticipated "Da Vinci Code" is sure to suspend audiences worldwide.

Just days before the cultural phenomenon hits theaters, "Extra" sat down with the stars of the film, Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Sir Ian McKellen and Paul Bettany, for a sneak peek of the controversial film, which Hanks calls, "A fabulous scavenger hunt."

The film's mystery centers on a savage murder in the Louvre and clues hidden in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci. "This creator of masterpieces that might have been leaving us a clue," Hanks explained. "That's just the greatest puzzle in the world."

Audrey Tautou said, "Everything was exciting," while Sir Ian revealed, "You keep catching your breath. What's going to happen next?"

Once solved, the code threatens to shake Christianity to its very core. "At the heart of the 'The Da Vinci Code' is the reality of the Holy Grail," Sir Ian explained. "Was Jesus celibate or was he married and did he have children?"

A key figure in that war is the sinister Albino man, Silas, played by Paul Bettany. Paul revealed that when he got the part, he hadn't yet read the best-selling book.

"I got the phone call from Ron, who said, 'Would you like to play the monk assassin in "The Da Vinci Code?"' And then he said, 'Have you read it?'" Bettany revealed. "I went, 'Yes, of course I read it.' So I went out and bought it."

"Making 'The Da Vinci Code' was one fabulous vacation adventure moment after the next," Hanks revealed.

But the biggest moment for the superstar was filming in Paris' esteemed Louvre museum. "Suddenly, you're thinking, 'Wow, this is a really big place, and I have it all to myself," Tom admitted. "Turn around and there's the Mona Lisa. I said, 'Why can't we have craft services in here?'"

As for the controversy surrounding the film, no one is losing sleep over it. "The most certain way to get people to see movies is to tell them not to," Sir Ian revealed. Paul added, "I think it's fantastic. I think it's sort of a marketing bonanza probably."

Unlock the code and seek the truth when "The Da Vinci Code" is revealed, May 19.

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