Geofrey Rush for “Swimming Upstream”

Recent Golden Globe winner Geoffrey Rush, in town to help publicise the US release of the Australian film Swimming Upstream, appears to be eventually set for both Pirates of the Caribbean films. Talking exclusively to Dark Horizons, the self-confessed fan of DH [“I love the site, I use it as my bible”], says while both Pirates sequels are not a sure thing for the Oscar winning actor, he is keeping himself available.

“It is not an official announcement, but at the moment I am on hold until there is a date somewhere late January where I think they are going to role out the schedule and the scripts. cause They have got a big job ahead of them, as they are going to shoot two and three together for logistical reasons and they are certainly determined not to make it a sausage machine project. It seems they are very keen on expanding the possibility of what Barbossa and Jack Sparrow and all the characters get involved in, and I think they are going to take into some quite fantastical and surprisingly new directions,” says Rush, excitedly.

But it is not just the Hollywood blockbusters that appeal to Rush, who received a Golden Globe this past weekend for his portrayal of Peter Sellers. While waiting to rediscover his inner pirate, once again, Rush returns to Australia to star in Candy, for director Neil Armfield, “who is my long time theatrical collaborator.  Based on a Luke Davis novel from a couple of years ago and it’s with Heath Ledger and Abbey Cornish, an actress who is just one out of the box, an extraordinary young woman. Candy is a really, really good script and it is going to be great to be on,” enthuses Rush.

While Swimming Upstream – in which the actor delivers a powerful performance as an alcoholic, abusive father who pits his sons together as they both thrive for excellence as swimmers – has already been and gone in Rush’s native Australia, MGM is releasing the film in limited markets throughout the US on February 4. Despite its apparent Australian parochialism, Rush feels that American audiences should get the 1950s-set drama. “Hopefully they will get it, because they will see it through the kind of specific detail we hopefully have put into it.  I know the kind of debilitating effect that alcoholism can have on a family, and I have seen it in friends’ fathers, who were kind of battered and bruised and came out silent and angry.”

It is clear why Rush was attracted to such an intense character, but denies that he prefers that kind of pure acting, to the experiences he faces on a Jerry Bruckheimer extravaganza. “I never look at the Production House before I look at the script. Swimming Upstream happened to be an American outfit called Crusader Films and it was going to be staffed entirely by Australians. The script just leapt at me on a level, where at a very particular time there was a certain moodiness in the world after September 1. I had just been doing Banger Sisters and Frida and I loved  the opportunity to play a role in my own dialect and something that came from my own culture psyche,” Rush explains.  “It was just very vibrant for me and then something like Pirates comes up, and again it was the script and in there with Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer.”

It’s been 8 years since Shine catapulted the then predominant stage actor to movie stardom and at 52, the Aussie Oscar winner still admits surprise to his success. “Yeah, I am constantly intrigued because you know none of the last eight or ten years were ever in my sights or something that I aspired to. I just took a completely left hand turn when I started doing films with On Our Selection, Shine and then Children Of The Revolution and it just sort of went in weird and wonderful directions ever since.”

I first saw Rush on stage in Sydney alongside relative newcomer Mel Gibson. The two ex-roommates have remained friends, and Rush smiles at what has happened to the pair since. “Actually I am presenting Mel with an achievement award tomorrow night for Australians in Hollywood, so I’ll have a few funny anecdotes about when we were a 1/4 of a century younger.”