The project will be the first time the two actors appear on-screen together. Both Gibson and Penn rose to prominence at the same time, with the former becoming famous for his role in 1979’s Mad Max and the latter making his debut just two years afterwards in Taps:
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.
Leave your thoughts on Mel Gibson being set to direct and star alongside Sean Penn in his adaptation of The Professor and the Madman (via Thehollywoodreporter) in the comments section below. For more The Professor and the Madman photos, videos, and information, visit our The Professor and the Madman Page, and consider subscribing to us by Email, “following” us on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, or “liking” us on Facebook for quick updates. No official release date has been offered for The Professor and the Madman yet.