You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Noah’ Star Russell Crowe Breaks His Silence About Meeting the Pope

'We had an incredible experience.'

Russell Crowe broke his silence about his much-publicized trip to Vatican City last week, sharing details with Variety about why it was so important for him to visit Pope Francis.

Crowe, who had been tweeting the Pope about his upcoming Biblical adventure for weeks, landed in Rome on March 19, along with director Darren Aronofsky and Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore. Studio executives had hoped the trip would serve as a photo-op, but an actual photograph of Crowe and the Pope never surfaced.

Instead, the “Noah” team received seats in the VIP section of St. Peter’s Square, along with thousands of others, to listen to the Pontiff’s fatherhood sermon, which fell on Father’s Day in Rome. Crowe wouldn’t say if he exchanged any words with the Pope.

“Look man, I don’t really want to keep going around in that circle, because the thing that was most significant for me was the kindness shown,” Crowe said at the U.S. premiere of “Noah” at New York’s Ziegfeld Theater. “”We had an incredible experience. It was humbling. It was beautiful.”

Crowe added that as a non-Catholic, “I’ve never really felt any connection with the Pope before. This guy is different.”

“He’s a very inspirational person,” said the film’s director Aronosfky, an atheist who adapted the story of Noah’s Ark into a $125 million epic. “His first sermon he was talking about how we all need to be stewards of the planet, which is a big part of the Noah story.”

But did he actually meet the Pope?

“We were totally inspired by his presence the whole time,” Aronosfky said, ducking the question.

“No, I didn’t meet with him,” said producer Scott Franklin. who also made the trip. “He gave us great seats, and we were guests of his. The energy was something you could barely experience in life.”

Franklin acknowledged controversy surrounding the film from Christian churches concerned it takes too many liberties, but he pointed out that those critics hadn’t seen the movie yet. “I think any time you make a film about the Bible where people hold the text so sacred, you’re going to start some controversy,” Franklin said, adding that the creative team “didn’t get swayed by it.”

“They were no Christians when Noah was around,” said Mark Margolis, who plays Magog in the film. “There weren’t even Jews. He was before all that. I think sailors will like it: it’s very nautical.”

Margolis explained that Crowe visited the Vatican because “he was looking for some, if possible, positive response, but apparently the Pope did not see it. Maybe the Pope bought the pirated Chinese version, which is probably all over the world,” he joked.

The premiere was attended by Paramount chairman Brad Grey; Jennifer Connelly; Emma Watson, who plays Ila in the film; David Chase; 50 Cent; Ian Somerhalder; and Stephen Baldwin, who isn’t in the film, but said he was attending as a born-again Christian to support Aronofsky.

“I think there were questions about some content of the film being Biblically accurate,” Baldwin said before the screening. “For me, it doesn’t make sense. It’s about Noah. All Christians should go and support this film, because it allows for this conversation, which is cool.”

The after-party was held at the Central Park Boathouse, where many VIPs nibbled on the vegan-only dishes of pasta and salad overlooking the water. Guests stayed until after midnight, and carpooled out of the park in black town cars. When asked what he thought of the film on his ride home, Baldwin replied, “It was funkier than I expected.”

More Film

  • Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for

    Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for North America

    Magnolia Pictures has bought North American rights to the Romanian crime thriller “The Whistlers” following its premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Written and directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, the film stars Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, Rodica Lazar, Antonio Buil, Agustí Villaronga, Sabin Tambrea, Julieta Szonyi and George Pisterneanu. Magnolia is eyeing a theatrical [...]

  • Naomi Scott Talks Rebooting Princess Jasmine

    'Aladdin': Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad's New Character

    Call Naomi Scott the queen of the reboot – or at least, the princess. The 26-year-old actress is taking on the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” but it’s not her first time jumping into a role that’s already been well-established. Audiences may recognize Scott from 2017’s “Power Rangers” update, where [...]

  • Moby Natalie Portman

    Moby Accuses Natalie Portman of Lying as the Two Spar Over Dating Claims

    In what’s become a he said/she said spat in multiple mediums, Moby, the elder statesman of electronic music, is now accusing actress Natalie Portman of lying and pleading to those on social media for his safety as “physical threats from complete strangers” emerge. To recap: this month, Moby released a new book, “Then It All [...]

  • A QUIET PLACE Emily Blunt

    'A Quiet Place' Sequel Moves Ahead Two Months to March 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved its sequel to “A Quiet Place” ahead by two months from May 15 to March 20, 2020. John Krasinski is returning to direct the still-untitled movie with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe reprising their roles. Cillian Murphy is joining the cast. “A Quiet Place” grossed $340 million at the [...]

  • Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's

    Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's 'The Climb'

    Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all worldwide rights, excluding France and German-speaking Europe, to Michael Angelo Covino’s buddy comedy “The Climb.” The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Un Certain Regard Heart Prize alongside “A Brother’s Love” on Friday. Covino directed, co-wrote (with Kyle Marvin) [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Heads for Magical $100 Million Opening in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is heading for at least $100 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, early estimates showed Friday. “Aladdin” will likely finish Friday with around $30 million, including $7 million in Thursday night previews. Sony’s launch of horror-thriller “Brightburn” should pull in about $10 million for the holiday weekend and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content