The Professor and the Madman (film)

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The Professor and the Madman
Directed byFarhad Safinia
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onThe Surgeon of Crowthorne
by Simon Winchester
CinematographyKasper Tuxen
Edited byJohn Gilbert
  • United States
  • Ireland
Budget$25 million[1]

The Professor and the Madman is an American-Irish drama film, based on the book The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester. The film's title is taken from the edition of the book released in the U.S. and Canada. Principal photography on the film has been completed, as well as some post-production, but a legal dispute has delayed the film's release.[2]


The film is about a professor who in 1857 began compiling the Oxford English Dictionary and led the overseeing committee and a doctor who submitted over 10,000 entries while he was undergoing treatment at an asylum for the criminally insane.[3]



Mel Gibson worked on adapting the book The Surgeon of Crowthorne for over 20 years before production began to develop in 2016. Gibson, who originally intended to direct, hired his Apocalypto co-screenwriter Farhad Safinia to replace him, while he remained in the role of James Murray. Sean Penn entered early talks to join the film as William Chester Minor in August 2016.[4] In August, Natalie Dormer signed on for a role.[5] In September, Ioan Gruffudd joined the cast.[6]

Filming commenced in Dublin in September 2016.[7][8] Set photos from November revealed Steve Coogan, Laurence Fox and Jennifer Ehle as part of the cast.[9][10]

In July 2017, Gibson and his production company Icon Productions sued the production company Voltage Pictures over their desire to control certain aspects of the production. They refused final cut privileges and an additional five days of production in Oxford.[11]

On 19 June 2018, Judge Ruth Kwan of the Los Angeles County Superior Court rendered a judgment denying Gibson's motion for summary adjudication.[2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Eriq Gardner (20 June 2018). "Mel Gibson Loses Court Bid to Reclaim Rights to 'Madman' Film". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (2 August 2016). "Mel Gibson, Sean Penn Starring in 'The Professor and The Madman'". Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  4. ^ Jaafar, Ali (2 August 2016). "Sean Penn In Early Talks To Join Mel Gibson In 'Professor And The Madman'". Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  5. ^ "'Game of Thrones' Star Natalie Dormer Joins Sean Penn, Mel Gibson in 'Professor and the Madman' (Exclusive)". Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  6. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (30 September 2016). "Ioan Gruffudd Joins Mel Gibson & Sean Penn For 'The Professor And The Madman'". Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Braveheart Mel returns to the screen as a Borders teacher". Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  8. ^ Barnes, Julie-Anne (18 December 2016). "Mel Gibson plays a Scot in new film but won't face ridicule for accent this time". Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Steve Coogan joins Mel Gibson on The Professor and the Madman set". Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Mel Gibson sports bulging false belly on set of new period film". Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  11. ^ Maddaus, Gene (2017-08-01). "Mel Gibson Sues Voltage Pictures Over Final Cut of 'Professor and the Madman'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-09-08.

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