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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Waterloo moment for Da Vinci stars
By Caroline Briggs
BBC News entertainment reporter

Ron Howard with Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou
Ron Howard unveiled The Da Vinci Code train
The stars of The Da Vinci Code film have appeared in front of the media at London's Waterloo station before travelling to the Cannes Film Festival.

The Da Vinci Code promotional bandwagon rolled into town on Tuesday, followed by one of the biggest media circuses outside of US celebrity trials.

About 200 journalists, TV crews and photographers crammed onto platform 24 at Waterloo Station in London to witness... a train naming ceremony.

But such is the hype surrounding The Da Vinci Code, the press pack happily hauled themselves out of bed at 0530 BST with only a free coffee and a mini croissant to help soften the blow.

Tom Hanks, who plays Robert Langdon, French actress Audrey Tautou , Sir Ian McKellen, director Ron Howard, and author Dan Brown were expected to show up for just 15 minutes.

The world's media spent three hours waiting at the station

Their train, named The Da Vinci Code and branded with images of the Mona Lisa, was the only thing to see as it stood idly on the platform waiting for the stars to arrive.

Photographers from around the world climbed and jostled for the prime vantage spot as the minutes ticked by.

Eventually, the stars came onto the platform to cheers from the waiting masses.

Eurostar chairman Guillaume Pepy introduced them and revealed that the intrepid Da Vinci Code travellers would be having a crack at the record books.

The Da Vinci Code train planned to set a new world record for the longest non-stop international train journey with a distance of 1,421 kilometres from London to Cannes.

Hanks and Tautou stood silently with Howard as he drew back a velvet curtain to reveal The Da Vinci Code plaque.

"It's going to go into my personal journey as yet another amazing experience connected with making this film," he said.

"I think we are all in for a wonderful journey."

And that was that, as the promotional bandwagon packed up and rolled out of town.

The film version of Brown's bestselling novel will get the red carpet treatment at the Riviera resort on Wednesday, before opening worldwide on Friday.

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