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Pope Francis has found himself at the center of a bizarre cycle of reports that claimed that he cancelled a meeting with the cast and crew of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. Aronofsky, star Russell Crowe and Paramount vice chair Rob Moore were reportedly supposed to be at this meeting.
On Monday, Variety reported that the pope had cancelled on Paramount. It was supposed to happen this Wednesday, with the pope secretly blessing the project. A source told the trade that it was believed that word would leak, so the Vatican pulled out.
Variety said that they spoke with Aronofsky last week, who said the meeting would be cancelled if the press somehow caught wind of it.
However, a spokesperson for the studio told The Hollywood Reporter that no such meeting was ever scheduled. THR also claims that Variety added the word “tentative” to its headline after Paramount objected.
Crowe did try to reach out to the pope and is in Rome for a press junket.
THR does note that Paramount did reach out to the Vatican for an event on Wednesday in St. Peter's Square, but officials there suggested that Crowe would cause too much commotion as a world-wide celebrity. The studio agreed and the event was never set up. It’s not known if Aronofsky would have taken part.
Noah has sparked controversy domestically and overseas. Several Middle Eastern countries have banned the film. Paramount also struck a deal with a Christian group in the U.S. to add text that stresses that the film is only one artistic interpretation of the Bible story.
image courtesy of Paramount