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Opus Dei asks for disclaimer for "The Da Vinci Code"

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Opus Dei asks for disclaimer for "The Da Vinci Code"

Old 04-16-06, 10:20 AM
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Opus Dei asks for disclaimer for "The Da Vinci Code"

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p....92Hg&refer=us

Opus Dei Asks Sony, Shareholders for 'Da Vinci' Film Disclaimer

April 14 (Bloomberg) -- Opus Dei, the Roman Catholic group portrayed as murderers in "The Da Vinci Code,'' asked Sony Corp. to include a disclaimer in its upcoming film of the novel that would label the thriller as entirely fictional.

"Such a decision by Sony would be an expression of respect toward Jesus Christ, the history of the Church and the religious beliefs of viewers,'' Seizo Inahata of Opus Dei's Japan information office, wrote in an April 6 letter to Sony's Japanese shareholders, directors, employees and the Tokyo-based company.

Sony's adaptation of Dan Brown's 2003 novel, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks, opens May 17 at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The tale of Opus Dei and the Vatican violently covering up Christianity's true origins has sold more than 40 million copies and sparked an outcry from Catholic groups that say the book distorts the religion.

"We haven't decided on a response to the letter and decline to comment on the issue at the moment,'' Sony spokesman Koji Kurata in Tokyo said. "We received the letter from Opus Dei on April 6.''

Bloomberg News obtained a copy of the letter, in Spanish, from Opus Dei headquarters in Rome. Opus Dei, an organization of 84,000 laypeople and priests in some 60 countries, posted an unsigned version in Japanese on its Japan Web site.

The New York-based Catholic League has also called for Sony to add a disclaimer to the film, according to a March 21 news release from the group, which seeks to defend Catholics and the Church from discrimination.

'Capital Markets'

Opus Dei, in its letter to Sony, raises the possibility that the company's stock price could be hurt if Sony doesn't exhibit corporate values such as respect for peoples' beliefs. Corporations' intangible values "consolidate their economic value in the capital markets because they guarantee stability,'' the letter says.

"Some media have written that Sony is weighing the possibility of including at the start of the film a disclaimer that would declare this a work of fiction and that any resemblance to reality is purely a coincidence,'' the letter says. It then endorses the idea.

"The novel mixes reality and fiction, and in the end, one doesn't know where the lines are between true deeds and invented deeds, so that the reader who knows little history can arrive at the wrong conclusions,'' the letter says.

Opus Dei's office in Japan didn't immediately respond to phone messages requesting additional comment on how the letter was distributed.

On April 7, a London court cleared Brown of allegations he plagiarized the plot from an earlier book. Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of the non-fiction "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail,'' sued Brown's publisher Random House Inc. for copyright infringement, claiming the author made millions from their theories that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and fathered a child, spawning a royal dynasty.
Apparently the Opus Dei organization was greatly misrepresented by Brown in all sorts of ways. They have no monks and are certainly not murderous. Frankly, I'm surprised that Brown didn't make up a fictional organization to be this villain instead of using a real group in such a false way.

While Sony doesn't have to include the disclaimer, I think it would be a good idea for them to do so and I hope they do. I'm not all that worried that moviegoers will think the story is anything except fiction but I think it should be made clear that an actually existing organization is not necessarily as it is portrayed in the film.
Old 04-16-06, 11:45 AM
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Um no, it's just a movie.
Old 04-16-06, 12:36 PM
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What about the disclaimer that goes at the end of every fictional movie: "This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this movie are fictitious, and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental."
Old 04-16-06, 12:54 PM
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A disclaimer would just be...I don't know...stupid.

= J
Old 04-16-06, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by movielib
While Sony doesn't have to include the disclaimer, I think it would be a good idea for them to do so and I hope they do. I'm not all that worried that moviegoers will think the story is anything except fiction but I think it should be made clear that an actually existing organization is not necessarily as it is portrayed in the film.
I think Sony should tell them to shut the hell up and not include the disclaimer. Let 'em bitch!
Old 04-16-06, 02:50 PM
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Did the novel have a disclaimer at the beginning?
Old 04-16-06, 02:54 PM
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I wonder if they'd be pissed if they also included the mention that Jesus was also fictional.
Old 04-16-06, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by FinkPish
What about the disclaimer that goes at the end of every fictional movie: "This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this movie are fictitious, and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental."
I would think that'd suffice.
Old 04-16-06, 07:15 PM
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At least these guys didn't jump straight to suing Sony.
Old 04-16-06, 07:56 PM
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If you wrote a book naming a specific person or people killing others then you could get in trouble for it. I don't see the difference here. Out of respect to this group they should include a disclaimer as to not lead some who are easily influenced by film to believe that this movie holds any valid truth. As a teacher I still have to explain to some teenage students, who are made to believe that movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre are true, that these movies are simply created around bits and pieces of things that are drawn from the real world.
Old 04-16-06, 08:16 PM
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There's plenty of films that protray the Government as the bad guys, no need to label those films as being works of fiction. The difference between this and Texas Chainsaw Massacre is that film promoted itself as based on true events. I don't see the creators of The Da Vinci Code pushing this as the truth behind the bible.

Not to mention that the if the film needs the tag line then they should also be putting this "entirely fictional" label on any bible they sell.
Old 04-16-06, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dsa_shea
If you wrote a book naming a specific person or people killing others then you could get in trouble for it. I don't see the difference here. Out of respect to this group they should include a disclaimer as to not lead some who are easily influenced by film to believe that this movie holds any valid truth. As a teacher I still have to explain to some teenage students, who are made to believe that movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre are true, that these movies are simply created around bits and pieces of things that are drawn from the real world.
What if I wrote a mystery novel where the killer turns out to be a doctor? Do I need to have a disclaimer in the book stating that not all doctor's are bad??

SHEESH.

This is getting beyond ridiculous. The is a FICTIONAL film based on a FICTIONAL novel. For the life of me I cannot understand the big deal here.

~Jason
Old 04-16-06, 10:30 PM
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I really think this case is different from others that are being used as analogies in this thread. Brown chose a specific existing organization - Opus Dei. He has portrayed them as ruthless murderers. There is no truth behind this at all.

What if an author did the same thing with the NAACP or the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League? I don't agree with everything either group does but I know they are not murderous thugs any more than Opus Dei is.

I'm sure most people here know I am an atheist. I am hardly a defender of Christianity/Catholicism. I'm sure I would agree with very little of what Opus Dei promotes. But, while everyone knows The Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction, everyone also knows that there can be reality behind some fiction. I cannot help but believe that at least some of those who have read the book or see the movie and see a specific existing organization portrayed in this manner might think there is some truth behind that aspect of the story.

I think the film should do one of two things: either change the name of the group to something fictional or run the disclaimer, preferably at the beginning when people are watching rather than at the end when 95% of the audience is already in their cars.
Old 04-17-06, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by movielib
He has portrayed them as ruthless murderers. There is no truth behind this at all.
Wasn't it just one person from Opus Dei (granted, he was the leader of the organization) who was using a mentally unbalanced person to commit the murders? Not exactly representative of the entire organization.

But it shouldn't be too surprising, the way Brown plays fast and loose with the facts. In both "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" he's pulled some real doozies out of his ass.
Old 04-17-06, 01:18 AM
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I think I'm going to write a screenplay that depicts the Promise Keepers as an organization whose sole purpose is to molest children. I don't care if they want a disclaimer; that would be stupid, and they should just shut the hell up.
Old 04-17-06, 04:38 AM
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What if it isnt fiction?
Old 04-17-06, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
Um no, it's just a movie.
Old 04-17-06, 08:28 AM
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Unbelievable...No, no fucking warning. What is this, Dogma?
Old 04-17-06, 09:22 AM
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I personally know someone who was saying some really off the wall crap and long story short, he got it from this book.

At the time, I didn't know it. I had heard about the book, but didn't know what it was about. So, there are people who believe this is an expose' of sorts. The unearthing of the biggest conspiracy known to man, etc., etc.. Blah, blah blah.

So, I could see a disclamer, but I think one of the intents of the book/movie is to make people think it is true even though it's full of fiction. I think the reason the book (and probably movie) has done so well is that it deftly blurs the line between truth and fiction. A disclaimer would hurt that...
Old 04-17-06, 09:55 AM
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"Opus Dei, in its letter to Sony, raises the possibility that the company's stock price could be hurt if Sony doesn't exhibit corporate values such as respect for peoples' beliefs."

Actually, making a veiled threat such as this tends to make me wonder what "means" they believe would justify their "ends".

I can't imagine Sony quaking in its boots - rather, they probably appreciate the bonus publicity.
Old 04-17-06, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by FinkPish
What about the disclaimer that goes at the end of every fictional movie: "This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this movie are fictitious, and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental."
What a radical concept. I wonder why no one has thought of that before?
Old 04-17-06, 11:59 AM
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They'd better do as Opus Dei says...or else!
Old 04-17-06, 01:27 PM
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I knew as the movie got closer groups would pop up asking for disclaimers.
It's a movie!
I think most people are conscerned with the weird hair Tom Hanks has in the movie.
Old 04-17-06, 02:26 PM
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I think Dan Brown has encouraged this. I have seen him on TV specials expanding upon the theories presented in the book. He goes out of his way not to call it fiction when he is promoting it. The controversy sells books and it will sell movie tickets so that makes him smart.

But for Opus Dei, which frankly I had never heard of before I read the book, they have a right to be worried. We Americans are dumb. We will believe parts of fiction stories even though their is a standard disclaimer at the end. They should ask for a disclaimer and they should get one at the beginning. I mean how hard would it be to state that the events depicted are fictional at the beginning in addition to the end?
Old 04-17-06, 04:27 PM
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I might not agree that they need a disclaimer, but I don't fault them for asking.

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