Russell Crowe greets floods of Dublin fans for Noah premiere

Oscar winner promotes controversial biblical epic at Savoy Cinema

Russell Crowe (centre) attending the premiere of Noah at the Savoy cinema, Dublin. Photograph: Artur Widak/PA Wire

Russell Crowe (centre) attending the premiere of Noah at the Savoy cinema, Dublin. Photograph: Artur Widak/PA Wire


Russell Crowe, one of the world’s old-school superstars, was in Dublin at lunchtime today for the premiere of Darren Aronofky’s controversial biblical epic Noah.

Crowds (excuse the pun) flooded towards the Savoy Cinema on O’Connell Street to catch sight of the Oscar-winning actor.

In a whirlwind tour of the Celtic nations, Mr Crowe, after finishing with Dublin, made his way straight to a late-afternoon premiere in Edinburgh and on to an early evening screening in Cardiff.

In accidental tribute to the Noah myth, grey skies dumped rain on eager fans, but Crowe still found time to shake virtually ever hand that was extended to him.

Arriving to the auditorium itself some 45 minutes later than planed, he then, after (by his own admission) knocking back a drink, spread around his characteristic gruff charm.

Trailer: Noah

He recalled a meeting with Richard Harris in Dublin some years earlier. “Richard said: ‘I believe you are born in New Zealand but live in Australia. So I can yell abuse about the Wallabies and speak in hushed tones about the All Blacks. You’re a good night out, Crowe. I think I’m going to like you.’ That was my first time here. The weather is the same. Thanks for being consistent.”

Crowe then attempted to blend the film’s Old Testament concerns with the rugby theme. “There are lot of people saying prayers in this country,” he said. “Sometimes they work – like against France. But it’s funny that they never seem to work against the All Blacks.” Much booing followed. “It’s a fact. Just deal with it,” he chortled.

Costing somewhere in the region of $150 million (€109 million), Aronofsky’s film had attracted some negative publicity during production, but it has garnered mostly positive reviews and has already generated strong box-office takings in territories such as Australia, Mexico and Russia.

Telling the story of the biblical flood, the film looked to have appeal to faith-based audiences and, with this is mind, Paramount originally reedited Aronofsky’s version into a cut aimed more specifically at Christian viewers.

The film-maker, known for off-kilter, highbrow pictures such as Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, expressed his disgust in no uncertain terms.

“I was upset — of course,” he said. “No one has ever done that to me. I imagine if I made comedies and horror films, it would be helpful. In dramas, it’s very, very hard to do. I’ve never been open to it. I don’t believe that.”

In the end, Paramount Pictures announced that Aronofsky’s own cut would be the version released in cinemas.

Further controversy was triggered when the film was banned in Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia and the UAE for offenses against Islam.

“We don’t want a film that could provoke reactions and controversies,” Zainut Tauhid Sa’adi, a representative of the Indonesian Film Censorship Board, commented last week. “Members of the Film Censorship Board have agreed to reject [the film].”

Noah opens in Irish cinemas on Friday.