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Chirac denies pushing actress for "Da Vinci Code"
(Shenzhen Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-03 10:27

French President Jacques Chirac's office denied a report that he wanted a family friend to be the leading lady of "The Da Vinci Code" when he met with the moviemakers in 2004.

The Da Vinci Code stars Audrey Tautou & Tom Hanks.

The film's American director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer were invited to meet the French president in December 2004 as they were holding auditions in Paris for the top female role.   

"They discussed a certain number of their acquaintances, such as Audrey Tautou, Paul Newman, Michele Laroque, Gregory Peck and Jean Reno, but without linking them to the casting of the film," a member of Chirac's staff said.  

Newsweek magazine, quoting the film's executives, reported that Chirac suggested they cast his daughter Claude's best friend in the part, which was given to Audrey Tautou, the French star of the whimsical box-office hit "Amelie."   

The French newspaper Le Parisien suggested that Sophie Marceau, a family friend of the Chiracs, may have been the actress in question ! described only as "an actress of some acclaim in France" by Newsweek.   

Chirac's staff also denied he had discussed the pay of "this or that artist" after Newsweek said he had "wondered aloud, half seriously, if they could sweeten the paycheck for actor Jean Reno," who plays a detective in the film.  

"The Da Vinci Code", based on the 2003 best-selling novel by Dan Brown, opens May 19, starring Tom Hanks and Tautou. It delves into a series of high-profile murders behind a Vatican plot to conceal the true meaning of the Holy Grail.

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