Friday, August 06, 2010

The famous five

Unwatchable it may be, but The Da Vinci Code is art-in-the-movies-central. From its opening scene in the Louvre, it is so jam-packed with lookalikes that the producers could honestly state that ‘no art works were injured during the making of this film’. The Louvre let the movie makers in but would not allow their bright, hot lights on the likes of the Mona Lisa so duplicates (five in all) had to be made (they didn’t worry about matching the frame). To save the visitors from the shock and awe of a large-scale movie crew the gallery sequences were shot at night.

Other art works to be recreated for the pic included polystyrene statues, fake frescos and dummied-up paintings. After the movie was in the can Lincoln Abbey (that had played stunt double for Westminster) put some of the polystyrene tombs up for auction to try and raise some cash. W Cathederal had refused to let the DVC team inside its precincts citing theological issues. Unfortunately for Lincoln there was so little interest in the lookalikes the auction was cancelled. 

They are probably still in the Abbey’s basement so if you’re after something of this kind you could contact Roy Bentham, the Cathedral’s Chief Executive on 01522 561601 or email him at

Does making museums characters in movies pull the crowds? Did for the Louvre. General administrator Didier Selles told The Associated Press in 2006 that about 7.3 million people visited the art museum in the year following the release of The DVC, up from 6.7 million in 2004.

Images: Top to bottom, one of the five fake Mona Lisas, night shoot in the real Louvre, opening sequence as shot in a fake Louvre at Pinewood studios in the UK