The Pope did not cancel a meeting with "Noah" actor Russell Crowe, director Darren Aronofsky, and Paramount vice chair Rob Moore, despite rumor to the contrary. "A meeting was never scheduled," a spokesperson for the movie studio slams down the report.
"The meeting was tentatively on the calendar for 8:30 A.M. Wednesday in the VIP section so the pope could figuratively lend a blessing to the $125 million biblical epic," Variety reported. The photo-op was allegedly canceled due to concerns that words would leak ahead of time.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount explained that Crowe did want to attend Wednesday's papal general audience in St. Peter's Square while he was in Rome for press junket and the movie's Italian premiere on Tuesday, March 18, so they reached out to the Vatican to propose a meeting.
However, the Vatican told the studio that it was best not to proceed over concerns the actor's appearance could disrupt and complicate the event because he's such a well-known star. The studio understood and dropped the plan.
The film, which story centers on the God's Messenger told in the Bible and other religious beliefs, is banned in several Muslim countries including Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. It also sparked debate in Christian communities, which caused Paramount to add a disclaimer stating that the movie was a creative, not literal, adaptation of the bible story.
Supported by Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Kevin Durand, Ray Winstone, and Logan Lerman, it's scheduled to make its way out in the U.S. on March 28.
Last month, Crowe tweeted to Pope Francis, "Dear Holy Father @Pontifex @Pontifex_it @DarrenAronofsky #Noah film. Screening?The message of the film is powerful , fascinating , resonant."