My friend Jan will not eat onions nor watch a movie that features Tom Hanks. And whilst I really don’t get the onion thing, I admit I’ve often been with him when it comes to the squeaky Mr. Hanks. But times are a-changing. After last year’s Da Vinci Code, in which he wasn’t too bad, then the really excellent Charlie Wilson’s War (review soon!), the New York Times reports that he’s currently on set in Rome working on the Dan Brown sequel “Angels and Demons.” And it’s causing excitement.
Patrizia Prestipino, head of Rome’s provincial department of tourism, said, “A film like this could relaunch American tourism,” which has dropped by 6 percent this year from the same period last year (largely because of the weak dollar). The story takes place in some of the most magnificent spots in Rome, including the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Piazza del Popolo.
“For us it’s like free advertising,” Ms. Prestipino said. “I say the more films they produce in Rome, the better.”
Clever lady, that. Before “The Da Vinci Code,” Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland was averaging 38,000 visitors a year; in 2006, the year the movie was released, 176,000 visitors came.
Incidentally, Rome already has a tour inspired by the Angels and Demons book that’s already encouraged some 600 people a month to part with a 56 euro/$87 fee. With the film due for release in May 2009, the tour organisers must be rubbing their hands with gleeful anticipation.