He’s tweeted at him, sent him numerous messages and even turned up to mass at the Vatican.
But Noah star Russell Crowe’s dreams of meeting Pope Francis were finally realised, and he was more than a little charmed by the pontiff.
“Look I'm not Catholic and I've never felt any connection with any previous Pope, but I like this guy,” he told Good Morning America.
“I like what he says... He's changing the tone of the way you regard the Pope and I think it is a magnificent thing. I was very privileged and humbled to be in that environment.”
The fact the long-rumoured scheduled meeting actually went ahead as planned, Crowe said, stood as testament to who the religious leader is publicly.
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.
“I think considering the controversy surrounding this movie, it would have been so easy for the Vatican to rescind that invitation and just let it be that way but the kindness to actually let that invitation stand though is consistent with who he has been.”
The film, in which Crowe plays the impressively bearded lead role of Noah, has received a barrage of criticism over the way director Darren Aronofsky has chosen to portray the characters.
And the actor wasn’t shy about sharing his feelings about the reaction to the movie so far.
'We've had probably over a year now of very harsh criticism from a bunch of people who have put their name and stamp on an opinion that's not even based on the movie or seeing the movie, just an assumption of what it could be or how bad it could be or how wrong it could be in their eyes,” he said.
“I think quite frankly [that] is bordering on absolute stupidity, because now, I think, people are seeing the movie and they're realizing how respectful it is and how potent it is.”
Instead, as is only his promotional duty to do so, he labels the feature-length a ‘work of art’.
“You come out of this movie and you want to talk, about our stewardship of the earth, our relationship to animals, what is spirituality, who am I in this world - all these fantastic subjects for conversation.
“Art that can do that for people is a wonderful thing.”
Noah will be shown in cinemas across the UK on 31 March 2014.