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Despite reports earlier this week that Russell Crowe wasn't able to have a private meeting with the Pope, the "Noah" star was actually able to briefly meet with the pontiff ... in a somewhat more public setting, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Crowe, director Darren Aronofsky and producer Rob Moore attended Pope Francis' weekly audience on Wednesday, a gathering that's open to the public and often draws tens of thousands, according to Time. Crowe jokingly referred to the event as a Hollywood premiere, tweeting a photo of the crowd from "back stage at the Vatican":
And "pre-show with some of the lads":
And "pre-show with some of the girls":
Crowe, Aronofsky and Moore were able to briefly meet the Pope in this context, as confirmed by both Paramount Studios and Universal Studios-Italy, with the "Noah" director especially moved by the experience.
"Pope Francis' comments on stewardship and our responsibility to the natural world are inspirational and of the utmost importance," said Aronofsky, according to Deadline. "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."
Crowe expressed his gratitude via his favorite mode of communication with all things Pope-related: Twitter.
Crowe had reached out to the Pope on social media quite frequently in February in support of "Noah," urging the pontiff to watch the epic film and predicting he'd find it "fascinating."
For a brief moment it looked like Crowe's Twitter pursuit of Pope Francis had worked as a tentative meet and greet was perhaps in the cards for today. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be, with Paramount stressing that a private meeting was always only a possibility and never confirmed, per The Hollywood Reporter.
After the Italian premiere of "Noah" earlier this week, the next stop on the international press tour is Brazil. The film opens in the U.S. on March 28.