Ron Howard always wanted Audrey Tautou for the role of Sophie, but she was never available for an audition. She also originally felt too young to play opposite Tom Hanks. After some convincing from Howard she auditioned and got the role.
As with the other two films in the trilogy, author Dan Brown named main character Robert Langdon after John Langdon, a close friend and typography master who worked with Brown on ambigram designs for his book "Angels and Demons", as well as the films. John Langdon also designed an ambigram that was used in the movie Monkeyshine (2008).
To protect both the fabric of the building and the works of art it contains, the production's use of the Louvre Museum in Paris was carefully controlled. For instance, no equipment was allowed inside the Louvre during the opening hours, so filming took place at night. Since the crew were not permitted to shine light on the Mona Lisa, a replica was used to film instead. No blood or mysterious writings were permitted on the wooden floor of the museum so these scenes were shot at Pinewood Studios outside London. In the end, 5 replicas of the Mona Lisa were used.
Near the U.S. Embassy, there is a quick shot of a poster advertising an opera based on "Les misérables". According to documents, its author, Victor Hugo, is the twenty-fourth Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, serving from 1844 to 1885.
In the novel, Dan Brown claims that the Disney film The Little Mermaid (1989) gave its heroine Ariel red hair, as a reference to paganism and a symbolic grail story. This is inaccurate. Ariel, in fact, had red hair to distinguish her from Madison in the film Splash (1984) (the first collaboration between director Ron Howard and Tom Hanks).
24 (2001) creator Joel Surnow thought that "The DaVinci Code" would provide a great storyline for the show's third season. Surnow asked his boss, producer Brian Grazer about acquiring the film rights to the book. Author Dan Brown had no intention of his book being adapted for a TV show, and rejected their bid. Months later, Sony Pictures paid $6 million for the book and hired Grazer as producer.
Officials from Britain's Westminster Abbey refused to allow filming to take place in the Abbey, claiming that the book is "theologically unsound". Instead, the filming took place at Lincoln Cathedral in eastern England.
Danish actor Thure Lindhardt had booked his first Hollywood movie part as Silas the Albino and for a long time, he was clearly the running favorite until, ultimately, he was discounted on the grounds that he "looked too young" and director Ron Howard decided on Paul Bettany. However, Lindhardt later got a significant supporting role in the following Dan Brown adaptation, Angels & Demons (2009).
The close-up shots of the exterior of Rosslyn Chapel are genuine, but the two distant shots of the chapel aren't actually of Rosslyn Chapel. This is because the chapel was swathed in scaffolding when filming took place. The first (overhead) shot looks like a different location entirely, with a chapel that resembles Rosslyn. The second shot, looking up a wooded hillside to the chapel, is indeed a shot of Roslin Glen with the chapel in the right location, but with the other chapel pasted in. The penultimate scene at the ruined castle is indeed filmed at Roslin Castle, a partial-ruin that's a couple of hundred yards from the chapel. It's privately owned, but visitors can easily view the exterior and the bridge which were shown in the film. The chapel is noted for its many internal carvings, including what appears to be a depiction of American maize - but the chapel was completed before 1492.
Brian Grazer and Ron Howard received an invitation from French President Jacques Chirac. They expected a five-minute photo call. Instead they spent an hour in conversation and were told to speak to him if they had problems getting filming in the Louvre. Chirac suggested Reno should have a pay rise and that his daughter's best friend, an actress, should be cast as Sophie Neveu.
Ron Howard's first envisioned choice for the role of Robert Langdon was Bill Paxton. Paxton was interested but turned it down because of scheduling conflicts. 'Russell Crowe (I)' was then seriously considered for the role but ultimately Howard decided on his long-time friend Tom Hanks for the role. Other actors considered for the part were Ralph Fiennes, Hugh Jackman and George Clooney.
When Teabing is describing the passage in the lost gospel of Philip, he is interrupted before he can finish quoting a line about Jesus kissing Magdelene. During an interview on NPR's "Day to Day", religious historian Elaine Pagels (whose book on the gnostic gospels was a source for Dan Brown's novel) said that the gospel is physically broken at exactly the place that Teabing stops talking, so he would be unable to quote it any further anyway.
Author Dan Brown named character Sir Leigh Teabing after two of the authors, Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent, of the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Leigh is the surname of Richard Leigh and Teabing is an anagram of the surname Baigent. Leigh and Baigent unsuccessfully attempted to sue Brown for copyright infringement.
The novel contains a sequence in which Sophie and Langdon escape from a museum guard by Sophie threatening to destroy a Da Vinci painting. These scenes are not in the theatrical release of the film, although they were filmed and images from the scene are included with the published screenplay. Some of these scenes are restored to the film in the Extended Edition DVD, available in Great Britain (region 2), but as of 2007, not available in the Americas.
Because it was not certain that the movie would be a hit and that other adaptations of Dan Brown's novels would follow, this film was made as a "stand-alone" movie, rather than the beginning of a series. All references to the fact that Robert Langdon had already solved another murder riddle (in the novel "Angels and Demons", which precedes "The Da Vinci Code") were therefore purposefully left out of the script. When the movie was a huge financial success, production of Angels & Demons (2009) was started shortly after the release (but rewritten as a follow-up, not a prequel).
Near the end of the movie's trailer, the word "SEEK" in the phrase "Seek the Truth" is highlighted. Then, when the cast names are shown, the letters T, H, S, E, C, D, E and O are highlighted. If you rearrange the highlighted letters and add the word, you get the phrase "SEEK THE CODES".
when Robert Langdon is talking with the police during the signing party for his book. He is seen to the left of Tom Hanks immediately after the line "We found your name in his daily planner." He is wearing the Harris Tweed jacket from his dust jacket publicity photo.
Director Ron Howard's wife can be glimpsed (4m:15s) as an audience member (center frame/red shoulder-length hair) attending Professor Robert Langdon's lecture on Religious Symbology. Seconds later (most noticeably 5m:40s) she can be seen clutching her copy of Langdon's autographed opus at his book-signing desk, and asking for him to sign his last book.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
There are 16 deaths in the theatrical version of the film (not including historical flashbacks): 3 are stabbed, 5 shot, 2 die of a broken neck, 1 is incinerated, 3 are killed in a car accident, 1 dies after head was bashed, and 1 unknowingly drank alcohol containing traces of peanuts to which he was severely allergic.