“Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” It’s an LL Cool J lyric but it applies to one Geoffrey Rush, renowned Australian stage and screen actor. One of the few people who have earned an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy, and a Tony Award, Rush’s resume is extensive and varied.
Following an early career on the stage with the Queensland Theater Company (onstage over his career, he has played Horatio, Figaro, and King Lear, among others), Rush gained universal acclaim in a breakthrough performance in 1996 with “Shine,” snagging that Best Actor Oscar. Roles of great gravitas would further cement his fame, like that of sneaky spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham in Shekhar Kapur’s 1998 drama “Elizabeth” and the militant Javert in Bille August’s 1998 film adaptation of “Les Miserables.” Rush has also kept critics on their toes with oddball roles like that of Stephen Price (a fantastic nod to Vincent Price) in the 1999 remake of “The House on Haunted Hill.” The kiddies even know him as Barbarossa in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and the voice of Nigel the Pelican in “Finding Nemo.”
Starting in 2017, Rush became involved in a lengthy defamation suit against Australian tabloid The Daily Telegraph, which published an article alleging that he had acted inappropriately toward a co-star on one of his theatrical projects. In 2019, Rush won a $2.9 million judgement against the outlet and its publisher Nationwide News. The ruling was upheld on appeal the following year.
Rush is now set to return to the big screen in the upcoming “Raised Eyebrows,” a Groucho Marx biopic based on Steve Stoliar’s 1996 book “Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House.” However, the actor would prefer not to think of the film as his comeback vehicle.
‘I Don’t Want To See It In That Way’
Set to be helmed by “The Messenger” director Oren Moverman, “Raised Eyebrows” chronicles the final years of Groucho Marx’s life. It’s an intimate portrait of the vaudeville performer and star of the screen, stage, and television from the perspective of a young fan who worked as his secretary. The film will also star Sienna Miller and Charlie Plummer.
Speaking with Deadline, Geoffrey Rush acknowledged his hiatus, but said he doesn’t see this as a comeback. As he pointed out, he actually boarded “Raised Eyebrows” prior to the pandemic:
“I’m coming back to working, but I don’t want to see it in that way. I signed on for this film in August 2020. That was what happened with ‘Shine.’ I trod water for three years before it was made. You go, ‘Hope this idea doesn’t fade or go off the boil.’ I’ve struck up an amazing rapport with Oren Moverman. We’ve just Zoomed a lot, talked about Groucho, and he always says, ‘If you have any ideas let me know.'”
The “Quills” actor added that multiple other film offers have come his way since his defamation case. Saved for “Raised Eyebrows,” though, he felt they weren’t right for him:
“Everyone thinks my career was over after that case, but I got offered roles, but weird things, like playing a judge. I don’t want to talk about what the films were, as these are really good people. I said I can’t play an American judge and I was offered the role of a famous president. I like to think I am a chameleon but no.”
As someone who has seen Rush play Casanova Frankenstein, then Stephen Price, and then the Marquis de Sade back-to-back in the 90s, this writer begs to differ.
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/Film – ‘Slash Film: Geoffrey Rush Doesn’t See His Return To The Screen As A Career ‘Comeback”
Author: Anya Stanley
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November 25, 2022