Russell Crowe has received his papal blessing, at last.
The star of “Noah,” Paramount’s blockbuster re-telling of the world’s most famous flood, had been pushing hard for a meeting with Pope Francis ahead of the picture’s April 10 release in hopes of securing a blessing for the much-maligned film. “Noah,” which also stars Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson and takes a handful of liberties with the Biblical tale, will need to wow its core audience of Christians in order to recoup the estimated $150 million spent during its CGI-heavy production.
But the film has already been banned in several Muslim countries and Paramount, as well as producer Darren Aronofsky, are praying the film steers clear of religious backlash a la “Passion of the Christ.”
Crowe had requested a private meeting with the pope, but reports earlier this week said Francis had nixed the idea at the last minute, fearing it would be leaked to the press. On Wednesday, however, it looks like they did get their audience, but not exactly how they had hoped. Rather than secure a one-on-one with the pope, Crowe, Aronofsky and Paramount Pictures vice-chairman Rob Moore were reportedly on hand for the pope’s general audience, which is open to the public.
Afterwards, they got a short meet-and-greet with the pope. No word yet on whether or not Pope Francis, who according to Vatican officials does not watch films, will make an exception and attend a screening of this one.