Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Moved to a current post because the movie will soon be released.

Tue 27 Sep 2005
Audrey Tautou, right, and a member of the film crew struggle with the Scottish weather during a break in filming.Picture: David Moir
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email articleTown watches as Da Vinci Code film icons come to Rosslyn Chapel SHAN ROSS AND EDWARD BLACK
THE normally tranquil village of Roslin grabbed its first taste of Hollywood yesterday when Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks and his entourage swept into town to begin filming the finale to Dan Brown's international best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code.
While many locals attempted to ignore the clipboards, headsets and the specially erected polystyrene wall that confirmed the arrival of a big-budget movie, Monday morning still provided opportunities for the entrepreneurial.

In the village a group of pensioners - whose cottages in Manse Road have the best view of the Rosslyn Chapel - organised a "bidding war" selling prime-location spaces at bedroom windows to the world's paparazzi. All proceeds were being split between a kidney research unit at an Edinburgh hospital and St Claire's Old Folk's Lunch Club in the village.
The main organiser, a retired teacher who did not want to be named, began the day by charging £25. But after a steady stream of desperate inquires, his price for a day's pitch soon rose between £50 and £75.
Crews from Sky Television and GMTV were ushered into the organiser's cottage. "I'm pushing for charity, you know, and I don't like to think I may vastly undercharge by mistake," he warned them.
Elsewhere, Kirsty Smith, 21, a student nurse at Napier University in Edinburgh, braved the rain and blustery winds as she tried to gain access to the film set, but found herself relegated to the grass verge. "I know all the secret routes round the glen leading to the chapel," she said.
"I went down the back way and got down to a footpath near the chapel this morning, but all I could see were wooden fences that had been put up round the chapel.
"All I wanted was to see Tom Hanks. He is such a big, big star. Everyone in the world has heard of him and he's here. A security guard asked me what I wanted then told me to move." Alison Hughes, 60, and her husband Robert, 62, from Christchurch, New Zealand, both Da Vinci Code fans, were disappointed they couldn't visit the scene of one of the most dramatic passages in the book.
"We told the police we had come specially from New Zealand, but it didn't make any difference," said Mrs Hughes. "We will just have to live with it, but it's a pain."
Ron O'Neill, a lunchtime regular in The Original Rosslyn Hotel, founded in 1857, said: "The publicity will be good for us if folk are sensible enough to cash in on it and do something like open a cafe.
"But, despite all the fuss, there was far more buzz about the place when newspapers like the Washington Post sent reporters over when Dolly the Sheep died."
Muhammad Arif Iqbar, who owns the local grocers, added: "It's very good, we're a very lucky village to have a film shot here."
But some regulars also complained that money gleaned from the film would only benefit the chapel - and not the local villagers.
John Ritchie, a local writer, summed up the mood when he said: "Most people here have no problem with the amount of visitors that come to Rosslyn and the film crew, but the problem is the money goes in one direction only. Locals get nothing out of it and they have to put up with the disruption.
"When the chapel is being marketed for tourists they also need to improve the bus service as some visitors coming from Edinburgh can get stranded trying to get back."
Stuart Beattie, the director of Rosslyn Chapel, was keen to quash such mutterings and insisted they would be making nothing like the rumoured £175,000 from the four days of filming.
He said: "We are not making anything like the sums being bandied around from the filming which is only here for four days out of a ten-month schedule, after all."
Indeed, one local, Keith Campbell, was even due to lay on a special Da Vinci Code party in the Roslin Glen Hotel tomorrow night to which he has invited the film's cast and crew.
"It's just our way of saying thank-you to the film company and making them feel welcome," he said.
"It's a great scoop for Scotland to have them filming here and we want to clear the air with them. Hopefully it will be a good night as there'll be good food and a band."
Robin Crawford, a local farmer who runs Slateburns Caravan Park, opposite the chapel, loaned one of his fields to house catering workers and film crew.
He said: "My main concern is access. As long as the roads are kept clear then I don't have a problem, and the location managers I have spoken with for this week have been fine.
"Car parking at the chapel has been a problem in the past and it is a concern what will happen when the film comes out and even more tourists come along."
The Da Vinci Code has sold 25 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 44 languages. The film version will cost £53 million to make.
Hanks will play the lead role of Professor Robert Langdon, with Amélie star Audrey Tautou playing French investigator Sophie Neveu.
Oscar-winner Ron Howard, who starred in Happy Days as a youngster and who also made Apollo 13, will direct the movie.
The historic church has found new popularity because of its association with the book - visitor numbers have soared by 56 per cent to 70,000 since its publication. The book's plot suggests the 15th-century chapel was built to house the secret of the Holy Grail.
Trustees of the site, which is famed for its intricate carvings, have said location fees alone could generate £100,000.
The novel links a murder in Paris and clues in paintings by Renaissance master Leonardo Da Vinci to a secret society set up to protect the descendants of a purported marriage between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.
The film is due for release in May next year.

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