Geoffrey Rush pulls out of Australian stage production

Geoffrey Rush pulls out of Australian stage production
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017, file photo, Australian actor Geoffrey Rush poses with his Berlinale Camera Award which he received prior to the screening of the film "Final Portrait" at the 2017 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. Rush has pulled out of a Shakespeare stage production in the Australian city of Melbourne as he sues a Sydney newspaper for defamation. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has pulled out of Shakespeare stage production in Australia as he sues a Sydney newspaper for defamation.

Melbourne Theatre Company Artistic Director Brett Sheehy said in a statement on Tuesday that he had received a statement from the 67-year-old actor on Monday withdrawing from the role of Malvolio in a seven-week season of “Twelfth Night” which begins on Nov. 12.

Rush said: “Due to my current circumstances and medical advice, I must withdraw from the upcoming project.”

The Australian actor is suing The Daily Telegraph newspaper for defamation over articles published in December that accused him of inappropriate behavior toward actress Eryn Jean Norvill during the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of “King Lear” in 2015.

Rush has denied the allegation.