Shoreham Airport has had starring roles in many films before - but none has incurred the wrath of religious groups, so far.

Leonardo Da Vinci may be about to change all that.

Last year, film crews secretly descended on the airport to shoot scenes for the forthcoming Da Vinci Code film due for release in May.

The controversial story promotes the idea descendants of Jesus Christ are alive today and are members of a secret society.

The art deco terminal at Shoreham was transformed into Le Bourget Airport in France, where the film's main characters - played by Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou, star of Amelie - fly from near the end of the story.

Those now putting the film through its post-production stages have confirmed the airport scenes have made the final cut and will have a starring role in the movie, which is likely to be a blockbuster.

Hanks and Tatou were at the airport during filming, which at the time was cloaked in secrecy for fear Da Vinci Code fanatics would invade the set.

Airport manager John Haffenden said: "It was all fairly quiet, to be honest. We told the crew where they could and couldn't go but other than that we let them get on with it.

"There were cables everywhere and they converted the airport into Le Bourget quite easily.

"They wanted to keep it all very hush-hush at the time because they thought people would catch wind of the actors being in the area or it would attract fans of the book."

Mr Haffenden said he had not read the best seller by Dan Brown but would probably "get dragged along to the cinema" to see the film by his wife.

Shoreham's main terminal had a Le Bourget sign placed below the control tower and film set lighting was placed in most of the terminal's rooms during the night shoot to light up the building.

Sony Pictures said: "We can confirm the scenes shot at Shoreham Airport will be in the final cut of the film.

"They play an integral part of the Da Vinci Code story and look excellent.

"The cast and crew pass on their thanks to all the staff at Shoreham who made their short stay so welcoming."

The scenes were shot at the airport during one night. Mr Haffenden said Shoreham was well used to having film crews at the airport.

He said: "It has been used so many times in the past, far more extensively than the crew for the Da Vinci Code.

"We've had film makers here for days on end before, making an episode of Poirot and the like, so we are well used to it."