23 Oct 2018

Geoffrey Rush denies inappropriate behaviour during King Lear

6:47 pm on 23 October 2018

Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has denied touching a young actress' breasts or making "lewd comments about her body" during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Actor Geoffrey Rush attends The 2017 Australian Emmy Nominee Sunset Reception on September 16, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.   Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Australians In Film/AFP

Photo: AFP

Giving evidence on the second day of a defamation trial in Sydney, Mr Rush denied making "inappropriate actions" towards actress Eryn Jean Norvill.

Mr Rush, 67, is suing News Corp Australia's Nationwide News, the publisher of The Daily Telegraph, and journalist Jonathan Moran over several articles alleging he acted inappropriately towards a young actress.

That actress was later identified in proceedings as Ms Norvill.

In his second day of evidence, Mr Rush responded to a series of questions from his lawyer, Mr Bruce McClintock SC, about his dealings with Ms Norvill.

McClintock: Did you ever touch her [Ms Norvill] on the breasts?

Rush: No.

McClintock: Did you make groping gestures in the air to simulate groping her [Ms Norvill's] breasts?

Rush: No. I didn't do that.

McClintock: Did you make comments about her body?

Rush: No.

McClintock: Did you make comments of sexual innuendo?

Rush: No.

Mr Rush described his relationship with Ms Norvill during the production as "whimsical".

"We really only encountered each other at after-work suppers and would exchange the odd text," he said.

He said by bringing the matter to court, he had hoped to bring some "balance to the scales" for the story, which made worldwide news.

"I do feel as if my identity, my sense of self, my career has been under such pejorative media coverage," he said.

"Everything that has happened is reported as fact."

Mr McClintock also discussed an allegation that director Neil Armfield told Mr Rush during a cast meeting a scene should be performed in a more "paternal" way.

Mr Rush said he did not recall Mr Armfield saying the scene had become "creepy and unclear".

Mr Rush is set to be cross-examined by lawyers for Nationwide News later today.