Pope Francis’ near-spotless public image lives on, as it has now come out that the Catholic leader did not cancel a planned meeting with Hollywood actor Russell Crowe. Paramount Pictures, the company behind Crowe’s Bible-inspired epic Noah, denied claims that the studio had scheduled a meeting behind him and the Pope.
Crowe was never going to have a private meeting with the Pope, because it would "cause a disruption."
“A meeting was never scheduled,” said a Paramount spokesperson, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This was in response to a Variety story on Monday, which ran the headline "Pope Cancels Tentative 'Noah' Meeting With Russell Crowe." The word “tentative” was not in the original headline and was only featured after the studio made the clarification.
Crowe did try to reach out to the Catholic leader multiple times. He tried contacting Pope Francis via Twitter (which the Pope has, apparently) to ask that the Holy See screen Noah. On Monday, Crowe arrived in Rome to attend a press junket and the Italian premiere of Noah, to be held today, as well as the general papal audience on Wednesday, which will include a weekly gathering in St. Peter's Square - prayers, a homily and a chance to personally meet Pope Francis, which the actor reportedly wanted to do, are all part of the package. It definitely won’t be in a private setting or organized especially for Crowe, however. Paramount reached out to the Vatican to propose a meeting, the studio said. Whether Aronofsky also would have participated hadn't been determined.
Crowe will get a chance to meet the Pope during a general audience on Wednesday.
According to the studio, a specially organized meeting wasn't ever up for discussion. The Vatican reportedly told Paramount that Crowe's appearance in St. Peter's Square could disrupt and complicate the event because he is such a well-known star, and that it was best not to proceed. The studio said it understood and the planned meeting was abandoned.
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Watch the Noah trailer: