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'Da Vinci' Set to Open Cannes Festival

PARIS (THR) -- Ron Howard's "The Da Vinci Code" will open the 59th Festival de Cannes on May 17, two days before the film is released worldwide, the festival's organizers said Saturday.

Based on the best-selling thriller by Dan Brown and produced by Brian Grazer and John Calley for Columbia Pictures and Imagine Entertainment, the film, which will be screened out of competition at Cannes, stars Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno, Ian McKellen and Alfred Molina.

"Da Vinci," which uses the Louvre Museum in Paris as one of its main backdrops, is an esoteric whodunit linked to a sinister plot to conceal the true meaning of the Holy Grail. The book, which has sold more than 30 million copies in about 40 languages, has been denounced by the Roman Catholic Church and historians as pure fiction with little or no historical basis.

Director-producer-actor Howard, whose "A Beautiful Mind" won an Oscar for best picture in 2002, first came to Cannes in 1988 with "Willow." Other films by Howard which screened at the festival include "Far and Away" in 1992 and "Ed TV" in 1999.

Organizers said the "Da Vinci" will be released in France the same day it opens at the Cannes fest, which wraps May 28.

Shiraz Sidhva writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

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