brian-mcgee - March 12, 2019
When you hear that Mel Gibson is appearing in a film in 2019 titled The Professor and the Madman, and he'll once again be sporting his now famous Rutherford B. Hayes beard, you would likely assume he's playing the madman part of that equation. Not so. The Madman in this particular equation is an equally ridiculously bearded Sean Penn.
The film is an adaptation of the book "The Surgeon of Crowthorne," which Gibson optioned back in the 90s with the intention of turning it into a film. Twenty-plus years later, Gibson is no longer behind the camera, but he is in front of it playing James Murray, the man tasked with compiling all of the words for the first Oxford English Dictionary. While compiling this tome, he receives thousands of entries from an imprisoned doctor named William Chester Minor (Penn), setting off an unlikely partnership that defined one of the most important books ever written.
I know it doesn't sound terribly exciting and the teaming of Gibson and Penn well past their prime doesn't quite have the same punch it might have had if Gibson had gotten this off the ground in the 90s, but it is a fascinating true story. It's also hard to ignore that despite their public personas, Gibson and Penn are both good actors, so there may be some blood in this stone.
The Professor and the Madman does not yet have a North American release date, but it begins rolling out in several foreign markets this week.