Mel Gibson is having a busy year in 2016, with his new action film “Blood Father” set for commercial release next month and his latest directorial effort “Hacksaw Ridge” to be in theaters by November. Now, The Hollywood Reporter announces that Gibson and actor Sean Penn will star in a new film entitled “Professor and the Madman.” Gibson acquired the film rights to Simon Winchester’s book of the same name back in 1998, and now it will soon see the light of day.
“Professor and the Madman” is a tale of two obsessive men trying to complete a project larger than both of them, infusing madness and genius together in the process. Gibson stars as Professor James Murray, a man who in 1857 set out to compile the Oxford English Dictionary, one of the most ambitious projects ever conceived at the time. Penn will play Dr. W. C. Minor, an inmate at the asylum for the criminally insane who ultimately submitted more than 10,000 entries for the dictionary. Though Gibson was initially set to direct the film, he has instead handed over the duties to Farhad Safinia, who co-wrote Gibson’s “Apocalypto” and is currently the creator, writer, and executive producer of the Starz series “Boss.”
Gibson is best known for his work in the “Mad Max” series, the “Lethal Weapon” series, and his ambitious directorial projects like “Braveheart,” which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1995, and the controversial “Passion of the Christ.” Meanwhile, Sean Penn is best known for his performances in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Carlito’s Way,” “Dead Man Walking,” “Sweet and Lowdown,” and “Mystic River,” for which he won the Oscar for Best Actor. Penn’s latest directorial effort “The Last Face” premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival to generally poor reviews.