Gibson and Penn to star in film about the creation of OED

Gibson and Penn to star in film about the creation of OED

Actors Mel Gibson and Sean Penn are to star in "Professor and the Madman", a film adaptation of a novel about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Gibson bought the rights to the novel - The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words by Simon Winchester (Penguin) - back in 1998, and after nearly two decades is ready to bring the title to the big screen.

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 was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

The film will be directed by Farhad Safinia, writer and producer of the TV Show “Boss” which starred Kelsey Grammer.

In the US and Canada, the book is titled The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary and was first published in 1998.