ROME (AP) -- Director Ron Howard claims the Vatican interfered with efforts to get permits to shoot scenes of his "Angels & Demons" religious thriller in Rome.

The film, which stars Tom Hanks and is based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown, has its world premiere Monday in Rome.

"Angels & Demons" combines an ancient secret brotherhood called the Illuminati, a papal conclave and a high-tech weapon threatening to destroy the Vatican.

Howard told reporters Sunday he hadn't sought cooperation from the Vatican to film inside churches because of the opposition he encountered filming "The Da Vinci Code," another Brown novel that angered many Catholic leaders.

But he claimed the Vatican had prevented him from filming even church facades. The Vatican refused comment.