In a press conference in Rome on Sunday, director Ron Howard said that the Vatican interfered with filming on his latest film, "Angels and Demons," by making it difficult to obtain filming permits.
The Associated Press reported that Howard said the Vatican exerted influence regarding his filming permits, and he was told it would not be possible to shoot scenes in Rome that had churches in the background.
"When you come to film in Rome, the official statement to you is that the Vatican has no influence," he said. "Everything progressed very smoothly, but unofficially a couple of days before we were to start filming in several of our locations, it was explained to us that through back channels and so forth that the Vatican had exerted some influence."
"Was I surprised? No. Am I a little frustrated at times? Sure," he said.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, refused to comment on Howard’s allegations about church interference, saying his charges were purely designed to drum up publicity for the film.
Last summer, Rome’s diocese confirmed it had barred producers from filming inside two churches because the movie didn’t conform to the church’s views.
The sequel to "The DaVinci Code" stars Tom Hanks, and will premiere in Rome on Monday.