Tom Hanks poked fun at the religious controversy surrounding his new film The Da Vinci Code by facing criticism from mock priests, cardinals, nuns, Popes and even Jesus Christ as he guest hosted US comedy show Saturday Night Live (06MAY06). The Oscar winner's new movie, which is adapted from Dan Brown's controversial novel of the same name, has upset Catholic Church officials because it questions longstanding beliefs about Christ and an alleged bloodline. But Hanks, who insists the film and the debate it will spark will actually help to swell church numbers, is taking the criticism in his stride. Hosting Saturday Night Live for the eighth time, Hanks opened the show by taking questions from regular cast members dressed as clergymen and clergywomen - and Jesus himself. Comedian Chris Parnell took on the guise of a cardinal and asked the actor, "I was wondering when you were making the film and you were meeting with the producers and writers and the director, in all that creative process, did you ever wonder what it would feel like to burn for eternity in hell?" The movie star feigned concern, and insisted director Ron Howard was fully responsible for the film and its message. He stated, "When you come right down to it, it really is the director that makes all the decisions and that would be Ron Howard, the guy from Happy Days." But the highlight of the skit came when another show regular, Jason Sudeikis, dressed up as a comedic Jesus. He quipped, "Mr Hanks, I saw your film and I just want you to know that I forgive you." But when the actor asked if he'd actually seen all of The Da Vinci Code, Sudeikis' Jesus joked, "I haven't seen that. I was forgiving you for making The Terminal... I saw that on an airplane and people were still walking out."