Geoffrey Rush stars as Albert Einstein in the TV series Genius.
Geoffrey Rush stars as Albert Einstein in the TV series Genius. Dusan Martincek

The genius of Einstein: Rush’s theory of relativity

CONTRARY to his name, Geoffrey Rush doesn't like to be rushed into his next role.

The Toowoomba-born Oscar winner is in high demand in Hollywood, but he's extremely picky about his projects.

"I take time to select," he tells The Guide.

"There could be a lot of scripts that might have come in and I go 'I don't know if that's really me' or 'I'm not sure if I respond to that'. It's a gut feeling."

He also likes to spend months preparing for a role, especially if it's biographical.

That's why he nearly didn't play Albert Einstein in National Geographic's acclaimed new series Genius.

Geoffrey Rush stars as Albert Einstein in the TV series Genius.
Geoffrey Rush stars as Albert Einstein in the TV series Genius. Dusan Martincek

"As a character actor in my 60s, and as challenging as that might be, it was a disappointment. But then Ron Howard came straight back to me and said 'We've had a look at the schedule and we want you to do it. We'll give you two months. I went 'Great, let's do it'."

The 10-part drama - based on Walter Isaacson's acclaimed book Einstein: His Life and Universe - goes beyond the halls of academia to explore Einstein's struggles to be a good husband and father, a man of principle and to expose his daringly creative mind during a period of global unrest.

"I am drawn towards those biographical films," Rush says.

"Whether it's the Marquis de Sade or Peter Sellers, I love characters, right at a particular period of history, who are either a great hero or an anti-hero. With Einstein, he is the best person to move through that scientific world and go into the cataclysm of the First and Second World Wars."

Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson in a scene from Genius.
Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson in a scene from Genius. Dusan Martincek


But the series is also unexpectedly racy thanks to Einstein's love for women.

Rush shares the role with South African-born English actor Johnny Flynn, who plays the younger Einstein.

"I was kind of imagining a young, passionate guy who was burning with curiosity and ideas, and saw the world in a very different way, and kind of had to smash through a lot of resistance to get these ideas out there," Flynn tells Deadline.

The two actors were in regular contact during pre-production, reportedly assigning Einstein an owl as his "spirit animal", and worked together to create a cohesive character.

They even used the same dialect coach to perfect Einstein's German and Yiddish-steeped English accent.

The best of Genius is yet to come, according to Rush.

"Stick with it," he says. "It just keeps folding in on itself and it goes into fascinating territory."

The drama has already been renewed for a second series, and the new subject will be revealed during the season one finale.

National Geographic will also air a catch-up Genius marathon on Monday, June 12, from 1.30pm.

Genius airs Mondays at 8.30pm on Foxtel's National Geographic Channel. A catch-up Genius marathon on Monday, June 12, from 1.30pm.
 


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