There he goes again. As I stressed in my recent "Who is Dan Brown?" piece for the Da Vinci Dialogue site, the author of Da Book that is being turned into Da Movie isn't terribly fond of facing tough questions about his work or his beliefs.
Thus, I bring you this news flash: Dan Brown has interviewed himself again and Dan Brown, the novelist, thinks that the upcoming movie of Dan Brown's book is just great.
It was a really nice touch that Brown allowed this new content about himself -- it's a short clip from the foreword of the published movie script -- in one of the only places in public media that people online will not be able to link to it and discuss it. That would be USA Weekend, which noted at its website:
The exclusive cover story written by Dan Brown on The Da Vinci Code movie is available only in our print edition. See USA WEEKEND in your local newspaper.
You'll be shocked to learn that Brown offers no insights into the truth claims vs. fiction issue and he does not even bother to address his critics directly. Here is one of the only interesting quotations:
"Novels change as they adapt to the screen. They simply must.
"Now, before you read this as an author's disclaimer for any differences between the book and the movie, let me assure you that it's all there -- the Louvre, Saint-Sulpice, Chateau Villette, Westminster Abbey, Rosslyn Chapel, the codes, the sacred feminine, and the quiet invitation to think about faith, religion and history with a fresh, open-minded perspective."
Take that, historians! This means that all of his fact-based critics are the opposite of fresh and open-minded. But we already knew that, of course.
It is also interesting that at the end of the article he comes very close to confirming the rumors of his wife, Blythe, being the coauthor of the book. Then again, maybe he is just being loose with his metaphors. It's hard to tell fact from fiction with this guy. Brown writes:
"My wife and I live our lives by a simple mantra -- to make wonderful memories every day. For us, few memories will ever be as vivid as the night we spent exploring the darkened Louvre by flashlight ... and seeing a frightened curator flee through the Grand Gallery with a pale monk in pursuit."
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times has put into print a hint of the buzz on the left coast, where some people are wondering why the studio isn't letting critics take an early look at the movie. Of course, it is perfectly logical for Sony executives to assume they do not need to use traditional PR for this product. Nevertheless, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman has heard some of the whispers.
The film's distributor, Sony, has been doing its best to keep the film shrouded in mystery, forgoing the usual media run-up in favor of an unveiling at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday. It's a tactic usually employed by studios to try to hide stinkers. But Goldsman says it was a strategy decided upon before the film was even edited, "which was to try to diminish the ability of people to indicate pre-release what was different from the book. Part of what is intriguing is the ability to go and experience that yourself."
Not incidentally, however, the strategy also undercuts critics and protesters who are forced to resort to debating the merits of the book -- not the film.
Early reports do indicate that the movie contains actual flashbacks to offer its own twist on biblical events, which means that many of the book's long conspiracy-theory speeches will now be offered as clips from a kind of post-Passion, neo-gnostic, goddess-friendly bathrobe epic.
Traditional Christians and historians are going to love that. And their complaints will be music to the ears of the millions of loyal fans of the novel and, almost certainly, the movie. As one Brown supporter wrote me this morning, in an email from Memphis:
liberating jesus from the likes of falwell, roberson, bush, graham the younger, van impe, hagee and the rest of the ahistoricalevangelicaldumbdamentalists seems to me to be a fine mission and ministry ... likewise for the seriously constipated roman catholics who believe they, too HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS and the ONLY ANSWERS!! those whose "faith" is "threatened" by this book -- or any serious theological thinking and reflecton -- probably deserve having that "faith" "threatened" ... big time!! time to grow up into the big world of adulthood, kiddies!!!!
P.S. Our friends over at Beliefnet have a pretty interesting series of video features up right now on you know what, featuring Father Robin Griffith-Jones of the Temple Church in London. They are not journalism, per se, but they do give you an idea of what critics -- even left-of-center mainline critics -- are saying about the book.