Geoffrey Rush: “In my theatrical repertoire, I rarely played the central character”

Actor Geoffrey Rush

“I suppose I’m drawn to — I’d call them all outsider figures.” – Geoffrey Rush

Geoffrey Rush is a hugely versatile actor and, over the course of his career, not only has he played roles on stage and screen, he has also played a number of well-known historical figures. And the chances are, that if you didn’t know who the person was before Rush played them in a movie, such as David Helfgott in Shine, you will by the time he is done.

Not only has Rush played Peter Sellers, the Marquis de Sade, Lionel Logue, and the aforementioned Helfgott, but he’s also spent fourteen years playing Captain Hector Barbossa in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The fifth movie, Dead Men Tell No Tales, is newly released, and reviews have praised Rush’s performance in particular.

He’s moving onto other projects, though, this time playing one of the greatest mathematicians to ever live; Albert Einstein. The show, Genius, airs on National Geographic, and Rush tells NYT that he’s always been drawn to playing what he calls ‘outsiders:’

“I suppose I’m drawn to — I’d call them all outsider figures. In my theatrical repertoire, I rarely played the central character. I was not the young heroic model for “Hamlet.” I tended to play those characters that orbited around them: the rogues and the rat bags and the idiots and the fools and the clowns that sway the plot somehow from a tangent.”

And what made him think that he could play Einstein in particular? Well, the answer is certainly amusing:

“I got a classic photo of the older Einstein. And I got a friend to take a photo of me and morph 15 percent of Einstein into my photograph to give me an indication [of how] to create a credible likeness. Then I got out a [marker] and put in the eyebrows, and some Wite-Out, and I drew in the halo of the hair. So that was my own audition for myself. I sent it to Ron [Howard, director] and said, “I think we can do this.””

Genius sheds light on a new aspect of Einstein’s life that many might be unaware of, if they only look at the photos of him later in life. Einstein was something of a Lothario, with many wives and lovers; someone who really rather enjoyed the cult of celebrity when it was thrust upon him. Rush, of course, embraces every aspect of playing a multi-faceted, fascinating individual… and he also finds time to be a pirate.

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/laura-linney-genuis.jpg
Laura Linney: “The thing that makes the theater different from any other art form: it’s time”
Linney cast's some light on why revivals in theater are looked at differently than their television and film counterparts.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/corey-hawkins.jpg
Corey Hawkins: “I grew up a theater nerd”
"The fun of it and the challenge of it is to take the play — to take the text — and make it your own, to find it your own way" - Corey Hawkins on Theater
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/sally-field-the-glass-menagerie.jpg
Sally Field on Performing on Broadway: “You’re so totally and utterly and completely alive”
Field reveals how the lack of intermission helps her maintain her energy and why she decided to return to Broadway after a nearly 15-year break.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/watch-sag-conversations-with-geo.jpg
Watch: SAG Conversations with Geoffrey Rush of ‘Genius’
Rush speaks at length about his career and portraying who many consider to be the wisest man of the 20th century.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Ben-Platt-Dear-Evan-Hansen.jpg
Ben Platt on How He Found Himself Starring in ‘Dear Evan Hansen’
"Every day is a different sort of vibe and feeling. It can be impacted by anything from like, "Is it raining outside?" to "Are there a lot of old people?"" - Ben Platt