WHO Russell Crowe
THE MOVIE "Noah"
THE DEAL Paramount is denying a report in Variety that Pope Francis canceled a meeting with the star of the controversial epic "Noah." Although Crowe has been urging the pontiff to see the film, the Paramount movie studio on Monday told The Hollywood Reporter that "a meeting was never scheduled." The studio has been squabbling with Variety, which has published stories about "Noah" receiving negative buzz from faith-based viewers. The film is due in theaters March 28.
WHO Steve Carell
THE DEAL The actor is set to star in a movie version of David Menasche's "The Priority List: A Teacher's Final Quest to Discover Life's Greatest Lessons," according to reports. The nonfiction book, which came out in January, chronicles the author's long battle with brain cancer and his subsequent cross-country journey to reconnect with hundreds of former students. Carell also will produce the film with his Warner Bros.-based company, Carousel Productions.
THE MOVIE "Divergent"
THE DEAL Early reviews for the potential young-adult blockbuster, starring Shailene Woodley as a rebellious girl trapped in a dystopian future, seem to suggest "Hunger Games" fatigue. Screen International said the story "mostly feels secondhand," while TheWrap accused it of "stealing from characters whose ink is barely dry on the page." Variety bemoaned its "bloated plot" and "drab visual style." Still, the odds may be in the movie's favor: BoxOffice.com predicts "Divergent," which opens in theaters Friday, will take in $68 million over the weekend.