The Hollywood Reporter, via Reuters, reports that Italian state attorneys have launched a criminal investigation into The Da Vinci Code (2006), following a complaint filed earlier this year by Catholic clergy who allege that the film violates an Italian law forbidding “obscene” treatments of religion in film. Ten people, including director Ron Howard and author Dan Brown, are named in the complaint, and could in theory be fined or sent to jail.
The authorities say they have no idea why this complaint was filed now, over a year after the film’s release, but I have a theory:
Ron Howard is reportedly planning to shoot the sequel, Angels & Demons, in the near future, and it takes place almost entirely in Rome — and it targets the Catholic Church specifically. At the very least, this is a nuisance suit; but perhaps the complainants think they can stop the sequel from being made in Italy, which — given how important actual geography and famous landmarks are to these stories — might prevent it from being made at all.