HOLLYWOOD heavyweight Russell Crowe will be on the red carpet in the Capital this Saturday as Edinburgh hosts the Scottish fan premiere of new blockbuster Noah.
The 49-year-old will be appearing at the premiere of the $130 million blockbuster at the Filmhouse with excited fans sure to jump at the chance of meeting the Gladiator and Cinderella Man star.
And he is expected to meet crowds of fans in the Capital before the event, as part of a publicity tour that has seen members of the public vote on where the “fan” premieres should be held.
The biblical story tells the tale of Noah who sees visions of an apocalyptic deluge and protects his family from the flood by building an ark.
The blockbuster has been well received by critics in the US, but the film has provoked real anger in several Islamic countries, as Noah is a holy messenger in the Koran, with Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE all banning the film.
In fact, Noah has attracted so much controversy that a fatwa has been issued on the film by the influential Al-Azhar Institution in Cairo, the centre of Sunni Islam, as it “contradicts the teachings of Islam”.
The institute, which is also home to a mosque and a university, said in a statement: “Al-Azhar renews its objection to any act depicting the messengers and prophets of God and the companions of the Prophet [Mohammad], peace be upon him.”
Several other Islamic countries are expected to follow suit but Pope Francis has given the film his blessing having spoken briefly with Crowe.
The actor even offered the Pope the chance to view Noah privately having contacted him via Twitter.
This will not be the Hollywood A-lister’s first visit to Scotland, having travelled here back in 2011 and toured replica medieval village Duncarron Fort.
While filming Gladiator, the actor, who claims to have some Scottish heritage, met good friend Charlie Allan, who is the chief executive of heritage charity the Clanranald Trust which built the village in the Stirlingshire forest.
As well as Crowe, Noah also stars Jennifer Connelly as Naameh, the lead character’s wife. The big-budget epic also features Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Douglas Booth.
Written by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel and directed by Darren Aronofsky, whose credits include The Wrestler and Black Swan, the film is described as “inspired by the epic story of courage, sacrifice and hope.”
The Paramount Pictures production opens across the UK on April 4.
RUSSELL Crowe was born in Wellington, New Zealand, in April 1964, before moving to Australia when he was a toddler.
A massive sports fan, he is the cousin of former New Zealand international cricketers Jeff and Martin Crow.
Crowe appeared in Neighbours back in 1987, playing petty thief Kenny Larkin in a couple of episodes.
Leading roles in A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander, Cinderella Man, Robin Hood and Gladiator, pictured above, have cemented Crowe’s place as a Hollywood A-Lister.