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Mel Gibson & Sean Penn to create the Dictionary in The Professor and the Madman

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This could be extremely good as Mel Gibson and Sean Penn are set to star in an adaptation of Simon Winchester’s The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. Lots of potential, but it could also end up as a bit of a trainwreck.

According to Variety Fair, Gibson is set to portray Sir James Murray, the dictionary’s editor, while Penn will play Dr. W.C. Minor, a retired army surgeon who contributed thousands of quotations to the O.E.D., all while in an insane asylum.

Hidden within the rituals of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary is a fascinating mystery. Professor James Murray was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon who had served in the Civil War, was one of the most prolific contributors to the dictionary, sending thousands of neat, hand-written quotations from his home. After numerous refusals from Minor to visit his home in Oxford, Murray set out to find him. It was then that Murray would finally learn the truth about Minor – that, in addition to being a masterly wordsmith, he was also an insane murderer locked up in Broadmoor, England’s harshest asylum for criminal lunatics. The Professor and the Madman is the unforgettable story of the madness and genius that contributed to one of the greatest literary achievements in the history of English letters.

Farhad Safinia, who wrote Gibson’s Apocalypto, is set to direct the film.

Thanks to Abdessamia My Abdellah for the link.

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