A key prop, the 'cryptex' is central to the elaborate plot of The Da Vinci Code. The film centres around the secrets of the Priory of Sion, guardians of the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Follwing the murder of her grandfather in the Louvre, Audrey Tatou as Sophie Neveu and Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon follow the cryptic messages he left behind. A Fleur-de-lis key found behind Da Vinci's Madonna of the Rocks leads them to discover the cryptex in a safety deposit box, opened using the Fibonacci code. Sophie exclaims "A cryptex! They are used to keep secrets. It's Da Vinci's design. You write the information on a papyrus scroll which is then rolled around a thin glass vial of vinegar. If you force it open, the vial breaks - vinegar dissolves papyrus - and your secret is lost forever. The only way to access the information is to solve the password with these five dials, each with 26 letters, that's 12,000,000 possibilities." The clue found on the cryptex leads them to Sir Isaac Newton's tomb at Westminster Abbey in London, where Langdon solves the password code - 'apple' - releasing the papyrus from the cryptex. The message leads them to Rosslyn chapel, where Sophie discovers she is the descendant of Jesus Christ.
The 'cryptex' was skilfully hand-crafted by UK based prop makers Dick George Associates under the creative direction of Allan Cameron and Giles Masters. All elements had to physically work exactly as described in Dan Brown's novel. Approximately 17 were made for the production. According to Dick George, three were used in the film, while the others were gifted to directors, producers and key members of the production. This 'cryptex' was presented to producer John Calley by director Ron Howard and producers Brian Grazer and Todd Hallowell.