Young Newsweek writer Devin Gordon (Duke, class of 1998?) did the magazine's weekly Live Talk online chat Thursday on his cover story on the movie of "The DaVinci Code." In addition to sounding completely in the tank for the movie, including defending the casting choices, Gordon was a bit cheeky when dealing with serious questions about the film being objectionable to Catholics:
Bossier City, LA: This is just typical of Hollywood to produce a movie like this to make a buck in spite of the fact that the underlying premise is absolute heresy. Ron Howard would have been burned at the stake if he lived 500 years ago.
Devin Gordon: True, but if he lived 500 years ago, the special effects in the movie would've been lousy.
Seriously, your underlying point is accurate: it is typical Hollywood, and that's just fine. Hollywood isn't the Catholic Church, and most people don't want it to be, which is why the town has been making--and selling quite successfully--heretical movies for decades. As for burning Ron Howard at the stake, you sound a little disappointed that this is out of the question now. Personally, I find it comforting that, in this day and age, the guy can make a movie and not be set on fire for it. But that's just me.
Houston, TX: Why would anyone want to laud and praise much less make a film of such a blasphemous book?
Devin Gordon: Most people see it as a harmless story, a work of fiction designed to entertain and not to provide a guide for living. In short, they don't see it as blasphemous, either because they're not Catholic or because they don't think telling a little story is a genuine threat to anyone's beliefs.
Tulsa, OK: Is the Bible real or not?Devin Gordon: Definitely real. I've seen hundreds of them in my life.
Finally, Gordon says several times that the film is NOT that controversial and that Catholic outrage can really do nothing to stop it from being a box-office juggernaut. (Success seems quite possible -- although remember that Tom Hanks filmed a massive best-selling book called "Bonfire of the Vanities," a remarkable flop -- but I'm sure Newsweek had quite the opposing point of view on "The Passion," as Gordon suggests.)
Sand Springs, OK: Do you expect the same outrage for the movie that was there when the book came out? If so, how does the studio plan to deal with it?
Devin Gordon: I don't think the anger will be as pitched. It's basically the same fight that's been going on for nearly three years, since the book was published, and by now we've heard all the arguments. I'm sure that some people will protest the film, some people will try to organize boycotts, and the media will eagerly lap up any particularly noisy outbursts, but I just don't see this causing anywhere near the stir that, say, Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" caused. At the end of the day, this is a popcorn movie based on a very popular book, and nothing is going to stop [it] from being a box-office hit.