Studio executives have dismissed rumours that Catholic leader Pope Francis cancelled an upcoming meeting with Noah star Russell Crowe, insisting they were never scheduled to get together in the first place.
The Oscar winner plays the title role of the ark-building biblical hero in the upcoming epic, and reports surfaced on Monday suggesting Pope Francis pulled out of a scheduled meeting with Crowe in Italy on Wednesday.
However, a spokesperson for Paramount studios has denied that Pope Francis and Crowe were slated to meet, telling The Hollywood Reporter: "A meeting was never scheduled."
Crowe is in Rome for the Italian premiere of Noah, and had hoped to personally meet the leader during his time in the city.
Paramount representatives revealed they did pitch the meeting to The Vatican, but the proposal was turned down.
Crowe has recently campaigned via Twitter to arrange a screening of Noah for the pontiff, tweeting his official account and urging fans to re-post his messages.
He wrote: "Dear Holy Father... Noah film. Screening? The message of the film is powerful, fascinating, resonant... Villagers (fans), given his environmental focus/scholarly knowledge, trying to screen Noah for Pope Francis... You help? retweet previous."
The film has been a topic of contention among some church leaders, who believe director Darren Aronofsky has portrayed Noah as a dark character.
It has been banned across much of the Muslim world because it portrays a prophet, which contradicts Islam.
The US$125 million film opens in New Zealand on March 27.