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Geoffrey Rush: Everyone Wrongly Thought ‘My Career Was Over’ After Defamation Suit

Rush is set to play Groucho Marx in "Raised Eyebrows" after winning a defamation suit over misreporting of misconduct allegations.

Geoffrey Rush, Berlin Film Festival

Geoffrey Rush

Jens Kalaene/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush felt no hurry to return to the big screen following a years-long defamation suit.

The star of upcoming “Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House” recently detailed his decision to reprise acting since a 2018 defamation lawsuit against Australian tabloid The Daily Telegraph over an article alleging Rush acted inappropriately toward an actress. Rush denied a separate allegation of misconduct that same year, with the accusation stemming from a 2010 theater production.

“It was bruising for everyone involved, I think, on both sides,” Rush told Deadline while at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival to receive the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution award. “It was an overblown and kind of bloated tabloid event, and the court found the result in my favor, and I don’t like talking about it.”

Rush ultimately won a $2.9 million payout from The Daily Telegraph and its publisher Nationwide News in November 2019. The ruling was upheld on appeal in July 2020.

Rush continued, “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.”

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, the Australian actor shared that he “lived a hermetic existence” and spent time self-reflecting.

“I’ve asked myself, ‘Has my Mojo disappeared?,'” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor admitted when it came to his career. “I was always a very physical and very driven actor. And then, you know, not doing it for four or five years, you suddenly go, ‘I feel rusty.'”

His latest project with director Oren Moverman, “Raised Eyebrows,” has been in the works since August 2020. Rush previously appeared in 2017’s “Genius” series as Albert Einstein and 2019’s “Storm Boy.”

“I’m coming back to working, but I don’t want to see it in that way,” Rush, who will play Groucho Marx in the historical film, explained. “You go, ‘Hope this idea doesn’t fade or go off the boil.'”

As for the film itself, Rush clarified that it’s “mostly been wrongfully announced as a biopic” but is in fact, not.

“I would call it a tragic comedy about mortality,” Rush said. “It’s about [Marx’s] last three years of life. He has been working since he was 15 in 1905 until the 70s. He started out as a Vaudeville singer, then became a Vaudeville clown with his brothers, got into film, then became a radio star, and then a television star, and then you know, he decays. There’s just so much to cover. You’ve got to consider that he’s an immigrant Jew from Germany. He’s not from the shtetl. He’s worked in theaters all over America. He’s been a star on Broadway. He is a notoriously bad father, family man, and husband. His life is ridiculously documented.”

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