When the conglomerates behind the viciously anti-Catholic book "The DaVinci Code" were looking for a director, Newsweek reported Ron Howard had a secret weapon: his aw-shucks child-star Opie Taylor likeability. "Ron is not a polarizer," said one. "We all knew the book was quite controversial, and we were ready for that. But we didn't want to add to it."
In that same article in 2006, it became clear that Howard wasn't going to make the film less vicious (or less filled with historical lies and distortions) than the book. There would be "no placating. It would be ludicrous to take on this subject and try to take the edges off. We're doing this movie because we like the book." (Emphasis his.)
This is where the aw-shucks routine goes out the window. It's one thing to say you like a good mystery with historical overtones. It's another thing to say you like a fiction book that paints the Catholic Church as an evil nest of lying murderers conspiring to protect the lie that Jesus Christ is God.
Then consider that "DaVinci Code" author Dan Brown repeatedly has claimed that his wild-eyed conspiracy theories are true. The book even carried the statement that "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate."
Now "no-placating" Howard is back, pushing a new movie version of a Brown book called "Angels & Demons." In a nasty article on the Huffington Post website, Howard spat at William Donohue of the Catholic League: "I guess Mr. Donohue and I do have one thing in common: We both like to create fictional tales, as he has done with his silly and mean-spirited work of propaganda."
As the psychologists say, Ron Howard is projecting. That is a perfect summary of the Dan Brown novels: silly and mean-spirited works of propaganda.
Howard claims, "neither I nor 'Angels & Demons' are anti-Catholic. And let me be a little controversial: I believe Catholics, including most in the hierarchy of the Church, will enjoy the movie for what it is: an exciting mystery, set in the awe-inspiring beauty of Rome."
That's not controversial. It's insane. It's a tactic, just like Howard's partner Brian Grazer reacted during the "DaVinci" publicity tour in 2006, when Katie Couric asked him how the group Opus Dei would respond to its portrayal. They were dishonestly and ridiculously painted as a murderous cult, but Grazer said with a straight face: "I think they'll be happy with the movie, ultimately."