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Pope Francis nixes meeting with Russell Crowe, crew of controversial 'Noah' movie

Controversies about the upcoming “Noah” film seem to be coming two-by-two.

On Monday, Variety reported that Pope Francis would not be meeting with some of the film’s top names — actor Russell Crowe, director Darren Aronofsky and paramount vice chair Rob Moore — after the Vatican decided it didn’t want to create a stir or create a spectacle from the meeting.

“The meeting was tentatively on the calendar for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the VIP section so the pope could figuratively lend a blessing to the $125 million biblical epic,” Variety reported. “The reason the Vatican canceled it, according to a source, is over concerns word would leak, causing a spectacle as Crowe and Aronofsky landed in Rome.”

On Tuesday, Paramount Pictures denied that Pope Francis canceled the meeting, The Blaze reported.

This isn’t the only time in recent days “Noah” has created a storm in the media. The film recently received a disclaimer that clarifies the “film is inspired by the story of Noah” and it isn’t necessarily a true interpretation of the biblical tale, Deseret News reported.

And despite its star cast, including Crowe and Emma Watson of "Harry Potter" fame, the film has raised concern among some critics that it won’t be faithful to the original story, according to a November Deseret News article.

“Having got a chance to read an undated version of the script for 'Noah,' I want to warn you,” wrote Brian Godawa, a filmmaker and writer, in a blog “Darren Aronofsky’s Noah: Environmentalist Wacko,” according to Deseret News. “If you were expecting a biblically faithful retelling of the story of the greatest mariner in history and a tale of redemption and obedience to God, you’ll be sorely disappointed.”

“Noah” is expected to bring religious blockbusters back in the box office, which is part of an overall movement for faith-based films to spread the message of believing.

“The question is not whether (a certain film) has religion in it,” said professor Maurine Sabine to Deseret News in October, “but whether the viewer will allow it to be the medium of religious questions and spiritual insight or the occasion for theological speculation.”

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com Twitter: @herbscribner