LOS ANGELES -- The highest-profile candidate to take over as the Guthrie's artistic director is not in the running.
Acclaimed actor Mark Rylance said Monday morning that he won't be replacing Joe Dowling who previously announced that this will be final season at the helm.
"I can't do that at the moment," he said. "It wouldn't be the right time. Maybe, I think, five or 10 years from now, I'd be much more interested. Maybe when the next person moves on."
In many ways, Rylance would have been the ideal choice.
His success on Broadway, which includes Tony-award winning work in "Boeing Boeing" and "Jerusalem," have made him an international star, one who would certainly attract major talent.
He has ample experience on the Guthrie stage through a 2008 production of "Peer Gynt" and 2013's "Nice Fish," which he co-wrote with Duluth poet Louis Jenkins. He grew up in neighboring Wisconsin, attended the University School of Milwaukee and has an affinity for Midwest audiences.
"There's a side of me that English audience don't know," said Rylance who was born in England. "They wouldn't know the references. People have asked why I haven't taken 'Nice Fish' to London, but that particular dry humor won't work over there. Minneapolis people say if a Wisconsin man tells you a joke, you don't laugh until a week later. That's how dry it is."
Rylance also has the experience. He was the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre's first artistic director, a post he stepped away from in 2005 after a 10-year run.
But there's a problem: Rylance is too hot right now to spend much of time behind a desk.
He was attending the TV Critics Assocation press tour Monday to promote a PBS production of "Wolf Hall," in which he plays Thomas Cromwell. Emmy winner Damian Lewis. The mini-series, which has already aired in England, was described in the Telegraph as "masterful" and described Rylance's performance as"steely yet vulnerable, mesmerically still."
His film career is also on the fast track. He'll soon appear in a Cold War thriller opposite Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan and Alan Alda. Later this year, he'll start production on "The BFG," a film based on a kids' novel by Roald Dah. Both movies are being directed by Steven Spielberg.
"I'm in a moment in my career after 10 years at the Globe where all this kind of film stuff is opening up," he said. "It very challenging and interesting to me."
Rylance was somewhat coy about whether or not anyone from the Guthrie directly asked him to consider the post.
"I've talked to a lot of people, including Joe, about it and his hopes for the place," he said. "They asked me my views as someone whose worked there. I hope they want me to carry on in some capacity. It's so very handy for me to have a place where I can express things that have to do with my Midwest upbringing, the four seasons and the people from that time in my life."
When asked what he thought Dowling would do next, Rylance predicted he'd take a rest. When I countered that that didn't sound like Dowling, Rylance quickly concurred.
"Yeah, that's true. He's been a phenomenal artist for that theatre and that community," he said. "I hope he'll enjoy being a freelance artist and be able to focus only on his acting and his directing. That's been something I've certainly enjoyed after all the responsibilites, the fundraising and being a leader in the community and dealing with frustrations and the triumphs of communities. A lot gets put on an artist that shouldn't necesarry be part of his responsibility."