Small cameras and fake tourists!

Re-created scene from the movie

How do you film a movie set largely in the Vatican when the Holy See itself has banned you from shooting within its walls? If you are the producers of Angels and Demons, the prequel to the church-baiting worldwide blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, you send in cameramen posing as tourists to take more than 250,000 photographs and shoot hours of video footage…

Special effects supervisor Ryan Cook told Italian film magazine Ciak: “The ban on filming put us in serious difficulty because we were not able to carry out the photographic surveys necessary to reconstruct the setting. So for weeks we sent a team of people who mixed with tourists and took thousands of photos and video footage.”

The move was necessary because leaders of the Catholic church, still smarting from The Da Vinci Code’s assertion that Christ married and fathered children with Mary Magdalene, had banned the film-makers from filming in or around any of Rome’s churches. Father Marco Fibbi, spokesman for the diocese of Rome, said at the time: “Normally we read the script, but this time it was not necessary. The name Dan Brown was enough.”

Angels and Demons director Ron Howard hinted in an interview in December on US TV show Shootout that his team had been forced into unusual measures by the ban. “We didn’t shoot at the Vatican officially. But cameras can be made really small,” he said.