French stars Audrey Tautou and Jean Reno are reportedlyjoining the cast of Ron Howard's adaptation of The Da Vinci Code - whichhas just gained permission to shoot in Paris's Louvre museum.
Local newspaper Le Parisien said that A VeryLong Engagement and Amelie star Tautou had been selected to playSophie Neveu opposite Tom Hanks. It reported that other local female stars hadalso been auditioned including Vanessa Paradis, Sophie Marceau, Judith Godrecheand Juliette Binoche. It has also been widely reported that Jean Reno will playthe obstructive detective Bezu Fache.
The Louvre agreement was announced by museum boss HenriLoyette, who said that the film expected to shoot for six weeks in France. Itwill spend two would in the Louvre, starting at the end of June.
The decision is unusual as the museum rarely givespermission for film shoots in a bid to protect its image rights and itstreasures.
But it had been feared that The Da Vinci Code'sproducers, Imagine Entertainment and Sony/Columbia Pictures, might haveotherwise chosen to construct Louvre sets in studios elsewhere, possiblyabroad.
That would have been a major blow to France, whichalready has difficulty in attracting high profile foreign pictures because ofhigh costs and its protective employment regulations.
It has also been feared that the recent court ruling onthe nationality of Warner Bros-backed A Very Long Engagement would alsoput off incoming productions.
The Louvre decision was announced the same day thatculture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres announced the creation of a newagency to help identify possible filming locations. The agency would beattached to the French Film Commission and the CNC.
The Da Vince Code screenplay is being written byAkiva Goldsman and the adaptation rights were bought from author Dan Brown for$6m. The film is set for release on 19 May 2006.
Other films that have shot at the Louvre include Jean-LucGodard's Bande A Part and Belphegor and Mr And Mrs Bridge.