at the Cannes film festival — where the protesters include a Catholic nun reciting a rosary at the foot of the red carpet — Howard agrees that the movie, like the novel, "is likely to be upsetting to some people."
The book and its screen adaptation suggest Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and fathered a secret dynasty. But Howard insists his movie is "supposed to be entertainment" and "not theology."
Howard says protestors should wait and talk to people who've seen the movie, then come to a decision independently.
CBS News correspondent Elaine Cobb reports that the film critics at Cannes have given the film a lukewarm reception. A press screening for 2,000 critics from around the world drew no applause in a setting where even bad movies usually get a few claps.
Some critics jeered and booed during the film and many dismissed the movie as vacuous. Most agreed that the film was completely faithful to the book.
Literary critics hated the book, which went on to sell more than 60 million copies. So the fact the movie won few fans among cinema critics doesn't mean it won't be a runaway success too.
Tom Hanks, who stars in the film, hasn't lost his sense of humor during the controversy. When the cast was asked if they believe Christ was married, Hanks quipped, "Well, I wasn't around."