Geoffrey Rush is one of the most beloved actors on stage and screen. He’s one of the few who has won the Trifecta of Acting; an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony award.
To celebrate his major exhibition “The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush” on now until the 27th October at the Arts Centre, Geoffrey Rush appeared Live to air on Film Buff’s Forecast with 3RRR’s resident film guru Paul Harris. The live to air radio show was held in the 3RRR performance space, which is exclusive to 3RRR subscribers.
“It feels strange making an entrance on radio” quips Rush, to laughter in the crowd. The exhibition features photographs, costumes, moving images, along with personal items which provide some insight into Rush’s inner world. At the entrance of the exhibition black and white photos by Jeff Carter of the Sorlies’ travelling vaudeville show, from the late 50’s reflect some of Rush’s early exposure to theatre and acting where he saw Bobby Le Brun play Dame Trot in Jack and the Beanstalk and a ventriloquist who was “thrilling.”
Rush grew up in Darling Downs in Toowoomba, and was a “latchkey kid” since his mother worked full-time. “I cut up shoe boxes to re-create the Sorlies’ stage.” His foray into acting started with lunchtime school plays and grew from there. “In the late 60’s and early 70’s I was part of University of Queensland’s radical theatre where some wanted to be in a review to pull down capitalism, but I just wanted to be in a show. I liked approaching performing through a physical level.”
In the mid 90’s he was fortunate enough to play David Helfgott in Shine. Shine was a break through film for Rush (by director Scott Hicks and writer Jan Sardi). “I don’t have to take my shirt off and have fabulous pecs” offers Rush when describing his role.
“I read scripts very, very carefully and sometimes there’s a magic that comes off the page. That was to a degree true for The King’s Speech. Though imagine pitching it to a studio; Two middle aged men talking in a room and one of them has a stammer” laughs Rush. Rush’s fifteen year old son said that he loved the film, and when Rush asked what his favourite part was, he said it’s when the credits say Bertie and Lionel remained lifetime friends. A few audience members were moved to tears at this remark, in the 3RRR performance space.
Some of the most fun that Rush has experienced on a movie set was for the four Pirates of the Carribean films, a film that initially Rush turned down. “Where Johnny (Depp) went with it, that kind of surprised everybody. His walk came from not being able to find his land or sea legs, and being fried on rum in the sun.”
When Rush met acclaimed director Stephen Sondheim, he didn’t want to be the sycophant that says I love your work, so instead greeted him with “Maestro” to which Sondheim responded “Mr Rush” which Rush refers to as a sort of “Elemental Haiku Exchange.”
There is a little time left for audience questions and we find out that Rush had a tutor for four months so that he would look like he knew how to play piano for the movie Shine. One of the more humorous anecdotes was when Rush’s childhood trauma of horse riding reemerged when filming Les Miserables and the scene was filmed from his waist up, whilst eight technicians guided the horse. “I felt like a complete idiot” exclaims Rush.
On that humorous note, concludes the first studio audience for trailblazer Paul Harris with the inimitable Geoffrey Rush at 3RRR’s exclusive performance space.
For a chance to be part of future exclusive events at 3RRR, dig deep and subscribe to the annual radiothon – “A Party To Subscribe To” from 9th-18th August. 3RRR is a fully independent, non-profit community radio station which is listener funded. Subscribers gain access to discounts all around Melbourne, and the chance to win the station’s giveaways to 3RRR events and films and exclusive access to film screenings and events in the Triple R performance space. “You gotta fight for your right to party, so subscribe to 3RRR.”