ROME (RNS) Actor Russell Crowe is using social media to try to cajole Pope Francis into seeing his latest film, the controversial "Noah," which stars Crowe as the waterlogged biblical patriarch.
The $125 million film, which will go into wide release next month, already has some religious groups upset over a story line they say takes too many liberties in director Darren Aronofsky's adaptation to the silver screen. Crowe says he'd like Francis to see the film to make up his own mind.
Crowe -- who won an Oscar 14 years ago for "Gladiator," which was set in ancient Rome -- tweeted an invitation to the pope, reading in part, "The message of the film is powerful, fascinating, resonant." He then followed with another message to ask his 1.37 million followers to try to convince the pope themselves:
"Villagers, given his environmental focus/scholarly knowledge, trying to screen #Noah for Pope Francis. @Pontifex. You help? retweet previous."
There was no official response from the Holy See, but it's unlikely Francis will agree to watch the production. Earlier this month, the Vatican's chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the pope doesn't watch films when he was asked whether the pontiff would see "Philomena," the Oscar-nominated film that tells the story of an Irish woman's effort to track down a child taken from her by the Catholic Church in the 1950s.
In the U.S., the controversy over "Noah" continues: Paramount Pictures, which produced the film, said reports of derision from religious groups are overblown and its own surveys show that 83 percent of religious moviegoers say they'd like to see the film.
KRE/MG END LYMAN