Pope Francis Declines Meet And Greet With Russell Crowe, Noah Team For Photo Op: Report

Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe in 'Noah'
Pope Francis has turned down the opportunity to meet the cast and creative team for Darren Aronofsky's Noah.  Niko Tavernise/Paramount Pictures; inset: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

As the rain pours, the flood begins, and Russell Crowe takes his place in the title role of Darren Aronofsky's Biblical epic Noah, one key religious figure will not be munching on popcorn in the audience. According to Variety, Pope Francis has declined a meeting and photo op with the cast and creative team behind the famous tale of the flood and the arc, which hits theaters on March 28.  

The tentative meeting was set for Wednesday morning, but the Vatican cancelled, concerned that word would get out "causing a spectacle," Variety reports. Crowe had also been tweeting invites to Pope Francis in late February, suggesting he view the "fascinating" film. Noah, which also stars Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Logan Lerman, has already been criticized by some religious groups for taking too many liberties with the classic Old Testament tale.  

In February 2014, Pope Francis invited the real Philomena Lee — who inspired the Oscar-nominated Judi Dench film Philomena — to the Vatican. This particular meet and greet is noteworthy because Philomena is a story that criticizes the Catholic church. It tells the tale of Philomena Lee who was forced by Catholic nuns to give up her son for adoption and kept in the dark about his whereabouts for more than 50 years. The Pope himself didn't attend the film's screening, but sent one of his closest advisors in his place. 

Regardless of the Pope's involvement, Crowe and the rest of the cast is already in Rome, and the 49-year-old took to Twitter on March 18 to complain about his morning coffee. 

"With the amount of People we have with Italian heritage in Australia surely somebody has brought some Aussie barista skill back to Rome?" he tweeted

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