Pope Blesses Russell Crowe, But Not Controversial Film 'Noah'

Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 08:22 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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Pope Francis met and blessed actor Russell Crowe, the star of the upcoming "Noah," a $130 million epic already stirring controversy among Christians for its interpretation of the story from the Bible's Book of Genesis.

The actor did not however, get the Pope to watch his movie or give it his blessing, reports The Daily Mail.

Last month, Crowe began tweeting the Holy Father in hopes of a meeting with him.

Though The Vatican nixed that idea, it invited Crowe and a delegation from the film to sit in an invitation-only section of St. Peter's Square and briefly meet the Holy Father, The Guardian reported.

Francis:Pope's Hidden Life Revealed.

After the March 19 meeting, Crowe took to Twitter to share the news.

Crowe appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday and blasted those criticizing the movie before ever watching it. It is set for release Friday.

"We've had probably over a year now of very harsh criticism from a bunch of people who have put their name and stamp on an opinion that's not even based on the movie or seeing the movie," he said. "Because now, I think, people are seeing the movie and they're realizing how respectful it is and how potent it is."

According to entertainment website The Wrap, Paramount, at the request of the National Religious Broadcasters, agreed to add a statement to the film alerting audiences that it's a dramatization.

"The film is inspired by the story of Noah," the statement reads. "While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."

The disclaimer will be added to all marketing materials, the film's trailer, website, print and radio marketing and some online and broadcast, according to The Wrap.

Christian audiences first panned "Noah" at an October screening. Directed by atheist Darren Aronofsky, the film includes evolution in its retelling the story of Noah and the great flood.

Christians aren't the only group outraged over the film. A fatwa has been issued by a leading Egyptian Sunni Muslim institution because Noah is mentioned in the Koran and Muslims prohibit the depiction of prophets, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The film has already been banned in Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates and other Middle Eastern countries expected to follow.

Studio executives had reportedly been jockeying for another epic along the lines of Mel Gibson's 2004 "Passion of The Christ," which saw a box office of $611 million worldwide thanks, in large part, to evangelical audiences, according to The Guardian.

Francis:Pope's Hidden Life Revealed.

Crowe characterizes the film as a piece of work that will spawn discussion.

"You come out of this movie and you want to talk … about our stewardship of the earth, our relationship to animals, what is spirituality, who am I in this world — all these fantastic subjects for conversation," he said. "Art that can do that for people is a wonderful thing."

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