Despite the controversy surrounding the film, Russell Crowe and the team behind Noah briefly met with Pope Francis on Wednesday, according to reports.
Crowe, along with director Darren Aronofsky, producer Scott Franklin and studio vice chairman Rob Moore were in attendance to hear the pontiff's weekly address at the Vatican today, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, local observers say they met Francis, although details of their meeting are unclear.
Both Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios-Italy confirmed the meeting to THR just one day after Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said no meeting had been scheduled.
Noah is due for release in Italy on April 10.
According to THR, Crowe, Aronofsky, Franklin and Moore, "went to hear Wednesday's address by the Holy Father Pope Francis at his weekly address in St. Peter's Square."
And Crowe also tweeted from the event, sharing two photos, one which he captioned "Backstage at the Vatican," and the other, which appears to have been taken in the audience.
"What a privilege, attended the Udienza with the holy father @Pontifex. St.Joesephs day & Fathers Day," he wrote.
He also shared his feelings after the address and appears to have received a blessing from the pope. "Ciao Roma, my love for your eternal light just grows deeper. Thank you holy father @Pontifex for the blessing," the 49-year-old thesp posted.
"Pope Francis' comments on stewardship and our responsibility to the natural world are inspirational and of the upmost importance," Aronofsky said of the weekly address. "When the opportunity to hear him speak in person on the anniversary of his first year in office I couldn't miss the chance to listen and learn."
Prior to the team's trip to the Vatican, Crowe had been lobbying for the Pope's support of film, which is based on the Noah's Ark story from the Book of Genesis in the Bible.
"Dear Holy Father @Pontifex @Pontifex_it @DarrenAronofsky #Noah film. Screening?The message of the film is powerful , fascinating , resonant," he tweeted on Monday, adding, "Villagers,given his environmental focus/scholarly knowledge ,trying to screen #Noah for Pope Francis. @Pontifex You help? retweet previous," he wrote, calling upon his loyal followers.
While there's no word whether the Noah team successfully organized a screening for the pope, The Hollywood Reporter noted that a Vatican spokesperson said that the Pope does not watch films when he was recently asked about Philomena.