Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush, who's claiming millions of dollars in damages in his defamation case, may never work again, his lawyer has told a Sydney judge.
"There is a significant risk that Mr Rush will not work again," Bruce McClintock QC said in his submissions on the amount of damages to be awarded if the actor wins his Federal Court lawsuit.
The actor's phone may not ring with job offers and he may never be able to regain his confidence and desire to work again, the barrister said.
After a three-week hearing, the high-profile case ended on Friday, when Justice Michael Wigney said he would "love to start writing his judgment tomorrow" but his workload precluded him delivering the decision this year.
Rush, 67, sued The Daily Telegraph's publisher Nationwide News and journalist Jonathon Moran over two articles and a newspaper poster published in 2017.
They related to a claim he behaved inappropriately toward a co-star - later revealed to be Eryn Jean Norvill - during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear in 2015 and 2016.
Rush denied the allegation and says the Telegraph portrayed him as a pervert and sexual predator.
The newspaper denied those meanings were conveyed by the material but argued they were substantially true after Norvill - who didn't participate in the articles - agreed to give evidence.
She testified Rush made groping gestures and sexual innuendo toward her in rehearsals, stroked her lower back backstage and deliberately touched her breast as he grieved over her character's dead body during a performance.
Referring to past and future economic loss on Friday, Mr McClintock said: "What they did to my client has disabled him from working."
"It does not take much of a taint to destroy a career," he said.
Tom Blackburn SC, for the newspaper and Moran, said "millions of dollars" are being claimed by Rush but he did not give or call evidence about being incapable of working or about not receiving any offers.
"We don't know if he received any (film) offers and if he turned them down," he said.
If Rush says he is entitled to substantial damages, the actor at the very least had to tell the judge something like "I am so damaged, I can't work" , but this didn't happen, Mr Blackburn said.
"The only evidence was from other people giving their opinion on his mental state," he said.
Australian Associated Press