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Last Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006, 08:36 GMT 09:36 UK
Hanks reacts to Da Vinci critics
Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code
Hanks plays a Harvard professor in Ron Howard's film
Da Vinci Code star Tom Hanks has said the film of Dan Brown's controversial best-seller is just "a good story" that should not be taken too seriously.

The actor told London's Evening Standard newspaper the film was loaded with "hooey" and "nonsense".

"If you are going to take any sort of movie at face value, particularly a huge-budget motion picture like this, you'd be making a very big mistake."

The film has attracted criticism from religious leaders and organisations.

The Da Vinci Code receives its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday.

'Scavenger hunt'

Leading figures in the Catholic Church have called for a boycott of the film, which they claim is blasphemous and an attack on their faith.

Author Brown's book includes a tale that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and had children, a secret bloodline that has been covered up by the Catholic Church.

But Hanks, who plays a Harvard professor in Ron Howard's film, said the film was "a lot of fun", likening it to a "scavenger hunt".

"We always knew there would be a segment of society that would not want this movie to be shown," he said.

But he claimed that it "never hurts" for a film to provoke "dialogue" about religious issues and history.

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