Thursday, September 1, 2016

Movies: The Professor and the Madman comes to movie screens

- from The Hollywood Reporter and Vulture

Voltage Pictures, the company behind 'The Hurt Locker' and 'Dallas Buyers Club,' is backing the film about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary.

After nearly two decades, Mel Gibson is ready to bring the best-seller The Professor and the Madman to the big screen and has enlisted Sean Penn in the effort.
Gibson, who acquired the film rights to the Simon Winchester book back in 1998, is poised to star opposite Penn, who is in negotiations, in the true story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary — a tale that delves into madness, genius and two obsessive men who changed the course of literary history.
Though Gibson had long developed Professor and the Madman as a directing vehicle, he has handed the reins to his Apocalypto writer Farhad Safinia, who is set to direct the film. Gibson will play Professor James Murray, who in 1857 set about compiling the OED, one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. Penn will play Dr. W.C. Minor, who submitted more than 10,000 entries but also was an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane. Safinia wrote the screenplay, while Todd Komarnicki and John Boorman penned an earlier draft.
The film brings together two heavyweights, Gibson and two-time best actor Oscar winner Penn, who have never worked together despite coming of age in Hollywood around the same time. Gibson made his film debut in 1979's Mad Max, while Penn appeared on the scene two years later in 1981's Taps. Both men also frequently direct, and Gibson has two Oscars to his credit for directing and producing Braveheart.

Natalie Dormer has joined the cast of The Professor and the Madman, where she will be starringalongside Mel Gibson and Sean Penn in the title roles. The film follows two men, Professor James Murray (Gibson) and Dr. W.C. Minor (Penn) as they attempt to create the Oxford English Dictionary; Murray began the extensive project in 1857, while Minor submitted over 10,000 entries while he as an inmate at an insane asylum. Dormer will be portraying a widow whose husband was killed by Penn's character and "whose family he wants to help." And for a bit of added tension, a "complicated romance" between the two of them ensues. Farhad Safinia is set to direct the film, which is adapted from Simon Winchester's book of the same name. So, more Anne Boleyn, less Margaery Tyrell.

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