Following days of conflicting reports whether Russell Crowe would get his wish to meet with Pope Francis, the “Noah” star did make the pontiff’s acquaintance on Wednesday, albeit briefly, at Francis’ weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
Also joining Crowe were “Noah” director Darren Aronofsky, producer Scott Franklin and Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore, according to the Hollywood Reporter and other outlets. The group met with the pope at the “udienza generale,” which is open to the public and can draw thousands of faithful.
In recent weeks, Crowe has used social media to lobby for a private meeting with Francis in hopes of earning his endorsement of “Noah,” the upcoming biblical epic based on the Noah’s Ark story from the Book of Genesis.
The pope’s blessing, if filmmakers could have secured it, would have been a big boon to “Noah,” which has already met with criticism for taking liberties with the biblical account ahead of the movie’s March 28 release in the U.S. But an endorsement seems unlikely. Earlier this month, a Vatican representative said the pope doesn’t watch movies.
So in lieu of a private meeting, Crowe and the rest of the “Noah” delegation had to settle for a quick powwow at the udienza generale.
On his Twitter account, Crowe posted a number of photos from the event, including one captioned “What a privilege, attended the Udienza with the holy father @Pontifex” and another from “back stage at the Vatican.”
Afterward, Aronofsky said, “Pope Francis’ comments on stewardship and our responsibility to the natural world are inspirational and of the utmost importance. When the opportunity to hear him speak in person on the anniversary of his first year in office [arose] I couldn’t miss the chance to listen and learn.”