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Paramount Denies 'Noah' Meeting With Pope Francis Was Ever Scheduled (UPDATE)

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"Noah" opens March 28, 2014. | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Paramount Pictures is going the extra mile to assure religious audiences that Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" isn't abject blasphemy. For a short while, that reportedly included a screening for Pope Francis himself. The studio, however, is denying that such a meeting was ever set to take place.

Russell Crowe staged a Twitter campaign to show the movie to the pope in Vatican City. The Oscar winner planned to attend the weekly pontiff gathering in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, March 19.

Variety then published an article with the headline "Pope Cancels Tentative 'Noah' Meeting With Russell Crowe" (the word "tentative" was added after Paramount responded to the piece). "A meeting was never scheduled," a Paramount spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter. Such an event was proposed, but when Paramount reached out to the Vatican, the studio was told Crowe's appearance would disrupt St. Peter's gathering and cause a scene. Paramount acquiesced, dropping the pitch.

It's now unclear whether Pope Francis has or will see "Noah" before its nationwide release on March 28. When it does hit theaters, it'll come with this disclaimer: "The film is inspired by Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."

UPDATE, March 19 -- Despite reports that Crowe would not meet with the pope, he joined the weekly pontiff address in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, Paramount confirmed to HuffPost Entertainment. Aronofsky, producer Scott Franklin and Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore were also in attendance, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Crowe tweeted two photos from the scene.

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