Director Shekhar Kapur today denied claims his latest film Elizabeth: The Golden Age was anti-Catholic and again hinted he would make a third feature on the Virgin Queen.
A Vatican-backed historian this week described the period drama as a "distorted anti-papal travesty" which could prove divisive among Christians.
But Kapur, who brought a relatively unknown Australian actress Cate Blanchett to the lead role in 1998 for which she was nominated for an Oscar, dismissed the allegations.
"It's actually very, very deeply not anti-Catholic," he told a press conference in Sydney with Blanchett and her Australian co-stars Geoffrey Rush and Abbie Cornish by his side. "It is anti extreme forms of religion."
The Times of London this week reported that Franco Cardini, the chair of medieval history at Florence University, said the film "profoundly and perversely falsifies history".
Writing in the Italian Bishops' Conference paper, Cardini said the film portrayed King Philip II of Spain as a "ferocious, fanatical Catholic, swinging his rosary like a weapon".
"Why put out this perverse anti-Catholic propaganda today, just at the moment when we are trying desperately to revive our Western identity in the face of the Islamic threat, presumed or real?" he wrote.
India-born director Kapur, who has previously suggested he might create a third film on the long-reigning monarch, said there was plenty of material to produce a third and final installment on the life of Elizabeth I.