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The current Pope Francis has done a lot to take the Catholic Church into the modern era with an acceptance for those that have been shunned before, but that doesn’t mean he’s willing to hang out with Russell Crowe. It was amusing yesterday to watch certain areas of the Internet get bogged down with virtuous rage as stories broke concerning the Vatican and his Holiness turning down Crowe and Paramount’s request for a meeting during the weekly meeting in St. Peter’s Square as a publicity stunt for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, only to have the entire story turn out to be extremely overemphasized. We’ve never been guilty of that around these parts. (Whistles a show tune.)
It all started with Variety running a story with the now-changed headline "Pope Cancels Noah Meeting With Russell Crowe" - with the magic word "Tentatively" put in later. Feeling slighted, Paramount voiced their concern by saying this wasn’t exactly true, as their initial request for a meeting was cancelled immediately, not "tentatively on the calendar for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday" as Variety claimed. Let’s hope Variety goes to confession this weekend.
According to THR, the studio did indeed request for Crowe to visit with the Pontiff at his weekly gathering, but Vatican officials thought that Crowe’s presence would be too much of a distraction for such a sacred time. Of course, they didn’t offer another date for a meeting, either.
Crowe started his own Twitter campaign to get Pope Francis on board with a meet and greet, but it was to no avail. Due to the film’s contextual (and not textual) approach to the Biblical tale, in which Noah has visions and isn’t the most pure of characters, the film has already been antagonized by religious leaders and banned in certain countries.
This is all par for the course when it comes to films that visit the Good Book, unless of course the film happened to air as part of an entire miniseries, as Son of God did. Apparently Aronofsky and John Logan’s script takes the story to places that the Bible didn’t go, and while it remains to be seen exactly how sacrilegious the film is, it really doesn’t make any sense for the Pope to get behind any movie at all, regardless of its subject matter. It seems that Paramount should try and find a different way of getting religious audiences into the film.
Also starring Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone and Logan Lerman, Noah will deluge cinema-goers on March 28.