Rush received the Best Actor in a Play award for his turn in an Aussie reprisal of The Diary of a Madman at the annual performing arts prizegiving, held at the Sydney Opera House.
Accepting the honour, Rush told the audience, "We first did this (production) in '89 and it's been a hell of a journey."
The play also won Best Original Score and Best Director for Neil Armfield.
Cate Blanchett was also a big winner - she was named Best Actress in a Play for her role in her Sydney Theatre Company's production of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.
Family-friendly stage show Mary Poppins won eight Helpmann Awards out of its 12 nominations, including Best Musical, and Best Male and Female Actors in a Musical for its leads Matt Lee and Verity Hunt-Ballard.
Following the Luke Davis novel to the letter the story is narrated by Dan (Heath Ledger) a poet a lover a bohemian who seems to have everything going for him until he meets Candy (Abbie Cornish). She is an art student who tries to gain his attention by joining him in shooting up. Not only is she a metaphor for heroin addiction she is a stunningly beautiful seductress. Quickly their idyllic love becomes overshadowed by the dregs of addiction which turns Candy into a prostitute and Dan into a con artist. Friends around them try to help the impossibly sexy couple including her desperate parents (Noni Hazlehurst and Tony Martin) and a wealthy businessman named Casper (Geoffrey Rush) who supports their bohemian life so he can live vicariously through them. Casper is a functional addict a university professor who's smart enough to know that their chemically-induced world will soon come crashing down on them all. Ledger’s played the gay role (Brokeback Mountain) the period role (Casanova) and now the druggie role continuing to establish himself as a superb actor. But it’s Cornish (A Good Year) who is going to get rave notices. She is luminescent in every scene even when hospitalized for her addiction. And the two actor’s chemistry together have an intensity that goes beyond the screen providing for some pretty steamy sex scenes including some pretty voluptuous swimming scenes shot underwater. Rush as the overly-supportive friend and Candy's hand-wringing parents are played as one-note characters despite the overwhelming talent of the performers. Australian director Neil Armfield adapted this story with the help of the novelist and uses some of the best talents from Down Under. He doesn't fall to animated gimmicks or other tricks used in similarly-themed films but instead allows the camera to be the overseer of the addiction. He uses the camera for example to show the couple from above when they enter an amusement park ride and then closes in on their faces as they feel the powerful thrusts of the ride. Set up in sections of "Heaven " "Earth" and "Hell " the various chapters of the movie get expectedly more horrific for the perfect pair. Thankfully it's not as obscenely depressing as Requiem for a Dream or as brutal as Trainspotting and although the metaphors abound it's not a hit-over-your-head lesson about the dangers of drugs. Armfield keeps Candy intensely private and low-key as a good romance story should be.
Australian star Heath Ledger is considering giving up homegrown movies forever after years of being harassed by the paparazzi there.
The Brokeback Mountain star is sick of the constant media attention he receives, and reached breaking point on the set of his latest movie Candy, director Neil Armfield reveals.
The moviemaker insists Ledger's volatile relationship with the press is making it virtually impossible to film, as well as live, in Australia, and he and wife Michelle Williams are currently hiding in Los Angeles.
Armfield tells moviehole.net, "He just felt that it was too soon to come back to Australia. It's very sad.
"A couple of paparazzi (here in Australia) have sort of realized that they can get a bit of a rise out of him.
"He's a boy…. and they attacked him.
"We were in the middle of the third take (during a scene), and this guy jumps out of the crowd--and he gets out his camera, and yells out, 'Flash!' It was the middle of the take, so therefore, he ruined the take…but then he adds, 'Gotcha, Ledger!' and he takes off up the street.
"Heath chased him and the guy tripped over, so he (the photographer) ends up going to the police and telling them that it was physical abuse, which it wasn't."
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