Producers of Angels and Demons, the prequel to The Da Vinci Code, have been banned from filming in churches in Rome, due to the content of the movie's source novel.

The film has been prevented from shooting in churches in the Italian city as it "does not to conform to our views", explained Monsignor Marco Fibbi, a spokesman for the diocese of Rome.

A predecessor to Dan Brown's hugely successful novel The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons sees Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon attempting to uncover a plot to blow up the Vatican and discovering the influence of the secret society known as the Illuminati.

Tom Hanks is set to reprise his Da Vinci Code role as Langdon while Ewan McGregor is also attached to star.

However, the film's producers have been prevented from working in the Santa Maria del Popolo and Santa Maria della Vittoria churches due to the Catholic church's unhappiness at the plotline of The Da Vinci Code, which used the premise that Jesus Christ had married and had children with Mary Magdalene, creating a royal bloodline that had been preserved by the church.

And with the Catholic church playing an integral role in the plot of Angels and Demons, Mr Fibbi explained that the diocese had refused permission to the filmmakers to shoot in the two churches owned by the Italian Interior Ministry.

"It's a film that treats religious issues in a way that contrasts with common religious sentiment," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

"We would be helping them create a work that might well be beautiful but that does not conform to our views."

Angels and Demons is set for a May 2009 release.

17/06/2008 11:09:00