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.
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.
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