Indy Without The Whip?

Tom Hanks said Thursday his character in "The Da Vinci Code" is like "an intellectual Indiana Jones without a whip" as a prequel of the blockbuster film is set to open worldwide next week.

Hanks again played the role of Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon in "Angels & Demons," which is based on Dan Brown's best-selling novel of the same name. "Angels & Demons," a prequel of "The Da Vinci Code," will be shown around the world on May 15.

"I think he is a timeless sort of character, like Sherlock Holmes, or any sort of the great detectives of all time, an intellectual Indiana Jones without a whip," the Hollywood actor said at a news conference in Tokyo.

"I hope I get a chance to play him five times," said Hanks, who was flanked by director Ron Howard and co-star Ayelet Zurer.

In "Angels & Demons," the Vatican turns to Langdon after an ancient secret brotherhood called the Illuminati kidnap four cardinals considered front-runners to be the next pope, and threaten to kill one an hour and then explode a bomb at the Vatican.

Reviewers at the Vatican's newspaper have said "Angels & Demons" was inaccurate, but added the film is "harmless" entertainment and not a danger to the church.

But one Italian bishop, Monsignor Antonio Rosario Mennonna, has said the film was "highly denigrating, defamatory and offensive" to the Catholic Church, according to Italy's ANSA news agency.

"The Da Vinci Code" took in more than $750 million worldwide.

But the film sparked boycott calls from church leaders as it was based on the idea that Jesus married and fathered children and depicted the conservative Catholic movement, Opus Dei, as a murderous cult.

Howard said he knew "The Da Vinci Code" would anger "some people." But he stressed that he did not mean to stir up controversy.

"On a personal level, may nature is not to seek controversy or to be provocative. I'm not a confrontational person," Howard said.