Hollywood’s Russell Crowe, star of the big budget biblical epic “Noah”, attended Pope Francis’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, but did not get the pontiff to agree to a screening of the film.
The actor famed for playing a Roman gladiator in Ridley Scott’s 2000 film tweeted pictures of himself at the audience with the makers of the blockbuster, appearing pleased to be back in “a city where they treat me like a prodigal son”.
“Ciao Roma, my love for your eternal light just grows deeper. Thank you holy father for the blessing,” he said on Twitter.
Paramount, the studios behind the film, had reportedly been hoping to arrange a screening of the film and private audience for the makers with the pope, but Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said he had no knowledge of the request.
The film has already angered some Christian institutions in the United States, with Crowe’s reportedly unconventional portrayal of the pre-flood patriarch.
Egypt’s top Islamic body has also slammed it as irreligious and said it should not be screened in the country.
“Noah”, which also stars Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins and Jennifer Connelly, is released in the United States on March 28.
The huge success of the film “Gladiator” saw a spike in the number of visitors to Rome’s Colosseum, from one million people a year, to around six million.