Or so it has been claimed.
According to a report in Variety, the leading man and director of biblical new epic Noah were due to meet the religious figurehead for him to give his blessing for the film.
Alongside Paramount vice chair Rob Moore and other film executives, the article implied they were hoping that the scheduled meeting with the Pope, pencilled in for 8am on Wednesday morning, would provide just the photographic opportunity ahead of the movie’s big release in the US at the end of March.
But, it goes on to suggest, the Pope’s ‘people’ at the Vatican dropped out of the arrangement over fears that the gathering could be leaked to the media.
Aronofsky did confirm to Variety just a week ago that the meeting had been proposed, but warned it was unlikely to happen if it received too much press or social media attention.
In pictures: 'The many popes of Pope Francis'
In pictures: 'The many popes of Pope Francis'
1/12 The Pro-Gay Pope
In just a year, Pope Francis has managed to change the public perception of the Catholic Church, and the stance it takes on civil issues, like gay rights. Despite originally protesting the legalisation of gay marriage in his native Argentina some years ago, he told reporters this year: “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?”
2/12 The Rebel Pope
No other Pope has urged a shake-up of the Catholic Church quite like Pope Francis, a true rebel of the dioceses. Who, incidentally, used to be a night club bouncer.
3/12 The Graffiti Pope
Pope Francis become... SUPER POPE in this Vatican-approved street art. But was he happy with the reference to the fictional DC comic character?"To depict the pope as a sort of superman, a sort of star, seems offensive to me. The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps tranquilly and has friends like everyone else, a normal person," he said. So, that's a no, then.
4/12 The Biker Pope
Yes, the Pope used to own a Harley Davidson. And yes, he auctioned it off this year and donated the proceeds to a charity that feeds the hungry in Rome. Very Papal.
5/12 The ‘Blue’ Pope
Dropping the 'F' bomb during Sunday service? Classic Pope Francis. Sadly, down to a Spanish-speaking slip of the Italian language rather than pure bad-assery.
6/12 The ‘Because I’m Worth It’ Pope
That awkward moment when your Papal hat blows off, forcing your barnet into Sesame Street-like spikes. Pope Francis has been there.
7/12 The Chocolate Pope
Imagine the Pope's delight (horror?) when he was presented with a giant chocolate replica of himself outside the Vatican by by students on a chocolatier course at the Accademia of Maestri Cioccolatieri, near Venice.
8/12 The Rock Star pope
The one and only religious leader ever to grace the cover of Rolling Stone magazine? Introducing... Pope Francis.
9/12 The People’s Pope
His U-turn attitude towards sexuality won him Time magazine's coveted Person of the Year accolade, and the cover of gay rights magazine The Advocate.
10/12 The Merchandise Pope
Thongs, mugs, onesies, earrings and even a baby mobile adorned with decapitated Pope heads, the 'Francis Effect' has seen sales of Papal merchandise soar by 200% over the last year.
11/12 The Fashion Pope
The only Pope, as far as we're aware, to be compared to fashion royalty (Karl Lagerfeld. Yes way.) and win Esquire's Most Stylish Man of 2013 award, too.
12/12 The Modern Pope
Let it be said, Pope Francis knows a thing or two about social media. He might be a way off 'doing a Dalai' and opting for Instagram, but he's not above posing for the odd 'Selfie' on Twitter.
Paramount have since issued a statement to the Hollywood Reporter denying that any such meeting was set to take place. The gospel truth? It’s hard to tell. Crowe, Aronofsky and the rest of the Noah cast are, however, in Rome ahead of the Italian premiere of the film this evening.
Noah, which is said to have cost upwards of £75million to make, is based on the story of Noah’s Ark from The Book Of Genesis in the Bible.
As with all Biblical films, it has already garnered a fair share of criticism - not least from religious groups.
And from atheists also. Famously agnostic US TV host Bill Maher blasted it for its apparent lack of apparent “plausibility”.
“But the thing that’s really disturbing about Noah isn’t the silly, it’s that it’s immoral,” he said. “It’s about a psychotic mass murderer who gets away with it, and his name is God.”
The film has already been banned in three Middle Eastern countries – Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – for depicting religious characters.
“The funny thing with people, they consider Noah to be a benevolent figure because he looked after the animals: ‘Awww, Noah. Noah and the animals.’” Crowe said at a press conference in Russia recently of his titular lead role.
“It's like, are you kidding me. This is the dude that stood by and watched the entire population of the planet perish. He's not benevolent. He's not even nice.
“At one point in the story his son says, ‘I thought you were chosen because you were good?' And he goes, 'I was chosen because I can get the job done, mate.’”
Noah is set to hit cinemas across the UK on 4 April.Reuse content