Geoffrey Rush Exits Australian Stage Production Amidst Defamation Lawsuit Against Newspaper

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Academy Award-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has pulled out of the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night amidst a defamation lawsuit against The Daily Telegraph.

The theater company’s artistic director Brett Sheehy says that he received confirmation Monday that Rush will be exiting the production in which he would have played Malvolio during the seven-week season that was set to begin on Nov. 12, according to the Associated Press.

Upon his departure from the production, Rush didn’t mention the defamation case but cited medical reasons for his exit. In a statement received by Sheehy, Rush said that he is leaving the production with “the greatest regret.”

“I know that I would not be able to provide the necessary creative spirit and the professional stamina required,” Rush added.

Rush filed defamation proceedings last year in Australia’s federal court, seeking damages from The Daily Telegraph which published allegations in December that the actor behaved inappropriately towards a female cast member during a 2015 production of King Lear.

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