Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Rush Relishes Barbossa's Evolution; Taking on Role of Crusty Pirate Captain Becomes Smartest Move in Aussie Actor's Film Career

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Rush Relishes Barbossa's Evolution; Taking on Role of Crusty Pirate Captain Becomes Smartest Move in Aussie Actor's Film Career

Article excerpt

Byline: Seanna Cronin

HE'S currently portraying the genius of Albert Einstein on the small screen but taking on the role of a crusty old pirate turned out to be one of the smartest moves in Geoffrey Rush's film career.

Captain Barbossa - Jack Sparrow's nemesis-turned-ally in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise - rocketed the Toowoomba-born actor into international stardom nearly 15 years ago.

Barbossa is arguably his most famous screen role, even if it never nabbed him any awards. He has plenty of those, though, including the triple crown of Oscar, Emmy and Tony awards.

"Funnily enough I get a lot of fan mail; I find that interesting," he tells Weekend.

"Now it's starting to come in from China and Slovenia and Russia. They're often very enthusiastic kids and teenagers. It's unbelievable how obsessive they are about all the nuances and details of the story.

"Some also seem to have a rather romantic, fantasy attraction about Barbossa."

Captain Barbossa the sex symbol? Rush has a theory.

"I think they like that Barbossa has a sense of humour and there's something not creepy about the fact that he's so assured," he says.

"Despite his vanity and how ruthless he is, it's that fantasy of if you could be a pirate then you get to live your own life. That's part of the historical reality. All these cretins got to go to sea, and they lived the high life but with no rule book. There's a subliminal impulse in that; everyone thinks 'wouldn't that be amazing?'"

The 65-year-old never dreamed the first Pirates film, The Curse of the Black Pearl, in 2003, would spawn more than a decade of work for him.

"I got shot at the end of the first film. I went 'Oh great, that was a really fun thing to do in my career and now I'll move on and do something else'," he says.

"Then Gore phoned me up and said actually we're going to do two and three and bring you back, mostly in three. I said 'But Gore, I'm dead'. He said 'Yeah, we'll use a bit of voodoo or movie magic. …

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