Rush In Tears While Giving Evidence In Court

Geoffrey Rush has dabbed away tears after telling a Sydney court he imagined his own daughter had died during a scene in which he carried a female co-star who he denies touching inappropriately.

The Oscar-winner was giving evidence in the Federal Court about a scene during the Sydney Theatre Company's production of King Lear in which he carried Eryn Jean Norvill's body on stage and howled.

Norvill played Cordelia, the dead daughter of Rush's titular character, during the scene.

"For this scene, I was imaging that it was my own real-life daughter and that she'd been hit by a bus on the street near where we live ... and I knew she was gone," he said.

"Every night I would reinvent that scene in my mind."

Rush is suing the Daily Telegraph's publisher, Nationwide News, and journalist Jonathon Moran for defamation over articles about an allegation he behaved inappropriately toward a co-star - later revealed to be Norvill - during the production of King Lear in 2015 and 2016.

He has denied the accusation and says the newspaper made him out to be a pervert and a sexual predator.

Nationwide News and Moran are pleading a defence of truth in the trial and Norvill - who didn't speak with Moran for the articles - has agreed to give evidence.

According to a defence document, Rush allegedly made lewd gestures in her direction, simulated fondling and groping her breasts and regularly made comments or jokes about her involving sexual innuendo.

He is accused of touching Norvill's lower back under her shirt when they were backstage and tracing his hand down her torso and across the side of her breast during a performance of the scene in which he was carrying her.

Rush's lawyer, Bruce McClintock SC, during his opening address said his client would testify that he didn't do any of the alleged acts.

Rush said the Daily Telegraph's articles didn't relate to the "strenuous but very cheerful" experience he had working on the play and he thought he and Norvill had enjoyed a "very sparky congenial rapport".