Pope Noah
Noah is upset at the news, but Pope Francis seems indifferent Paramount / Reuters

A papal endorsement might have given Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic Noah the little boost it needed to appeal to the church-going masses, but plans for star Russell Crowe to meet Pope Francis have been nixed.

The Hollywood Reporter says Paramount dropped its plans for a meeting and photo-op after the Vatican voiced concerns that the Oscar-winning actor's appearance at the Pope's weekly meet-and-greet might turn into a media frenzy.

Of course that would work wonders for Paramount's publicity campaign, but still they cancelled the event.

Last month Russell Crowe even tweeted the pope (a sentence I never thought I'd write) and mentioned a potential screening.

In 2004 Mel Gibson screened his controversial film Passion of the Christ for Pope John Paul II who said of the film: "It is as it was." Which, considering the backlash from many religious groups against that film, was about as ringing an endorsement as he could have hoped for.

The former Pope also posed with star Jim Caviezel, something the current Pope probably would have been happy to replicate with Crowe given his penchant for selfies.

Noah has been a troublesome film for Paramount, who duelled with director Aronofsky over the final cut, and the issue of appealing to America's hyper-religious south. Aronofsky won out, and it's his version we'll finally see in cinemas.

Noah will be released 4 April 2014.