Geoffrey Rush, costar of the new Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, On Stranger Tides, told Boxoffice that he immediately related to Tomar Re, the oddly-shaped alien whose voice he provides in the upcoming film Green Lantern. "I was thrilled to be invited into Green Lantern," Rush said Wednesday during a telephone interview. "I was not at all familiar with the DC comic at all, and the moment I saw the artwork for Tomar Re I went, wow this fish-head bird beak alien, I can seriously identify with his mind. And I also thought my torso was a good match."
Rush spoke to Boxoffice this week in conjunction with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which is being released May 20, 2011. Both Pirates and Green Lantern follow hot on the heels of his Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for The King's Speech, which won Best Picture and garnered commercial and critical acclaim for cast and crew alike. Interestingly, Rush said that he saw parallels between his King's Speech character, Lionel Logan, and Tomar Re, despite the fact that the former is based on an actual speech therapist and the latter based on an iconic comic book character who happens to look like an anthropomorphized combination of a bird and a fish.
"Well, there's a certain gravitas," Rush observed of the throughline between Tomar Re and his past roles. "Because there's one strand I suppose that runs through a number of diverse characters that I've done that have a kind of an overlap with one another, which is that I mentor people. In a certain degree, Lionel Logan is mentoring George VI in The King's Speech, but he has his own set of values and the context of the storytelling is a thing in of itself. Or when I played Trotsky in Frida, I'm sort of mentoring her as an artist and as a political figure. I'm mentoring Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I. Tomar Re fits into that to a degree, because I probably have some of the more substantial dialogue sequences in the film where I'm mentoring the young Hal Jordan, the Ryan Reynolds role, into the world of the Lanterns."
Meanwhile, Rush compared the experience of providing the voice for Tomar Re more to his experiences on animated films than live action ones, even if in, for example, the Pirates series, his character is significantly embellished by computer animation. "I've done a couple of animation films like Legend of the Guardians and Finding Nemo, and it's more comparable to that in a way," he revealed. "You go in and you make a study of the artwork of the character and some pencil sketches that might have been put into movement with pre-vis for a sense of how the character moves. Then, they're going to adapt it to footage they have of you when you were recording the voice and playing the character."
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is being released in theaters nationwide on May 30, 2011. Green Lantern is being released three weeks later on June 17, 2011.