Roland Joffe knows his latest film will be controversial, but says it is not meant as a response to "The Da Vinci Code," whose bad guys were members of the Opus Dei movement of the Roman Catholic Church.
Joffe is in Argentina directing a biopic of Opus Dei founder Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer, who sided with Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War and allegedly spoke positively of Adolf Hitler. The church dismissed the controversies before Escriva was canonized as a saint by Pope John Paul II.
Joffe has twice been nominated for Oscars, including for "The Mission," which dealt with leftist Jesuit priests. Now he is exploring the church's most conservative members.
Opus Dei is financing the film, "There be Dragons," but Joffe said Monday it isn't a propaganda project. Opus Dei members on the set say the British director has "creative space" to make the film he wants.
The city of Lujan near Buenos Aires is standing in for 1930s Madrid in the movie, whose cast includes actors Charlie Cox as Escriva and the latest Bond girl, Olga Kurylenko.