'The Professor And The Madman' Trailer: Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, And Their Big Beards Write The Dictionary

Mel Gibson and Sean Penn, two actors who have said and done some unfortunate things in their pasts, star in The Professor and the Madman, a film that's sure to not be controversial in any way. The film tells the true story of the work that went into creating the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. That may not sound like the most cinematic of stories, but there's a lot more to the tale than you might know. Watch the Professor and the Madman trailer below.

The Professor and the Madman Trailer

Alright, let me get this out of the way first. Under the right circumstances, I think both Mel Gibson and Sean Penn can be legitimately good actors. They've both delivered strong performances in the past, and I have no doubt they still possess that talent. That said, they also both bring a considerable amount of personal baggage with them in this day and age, which makes any project they're associated with slightly (or perhaps more than slightly) questionable. So the fact that they're both appearing together in one film is bound to set off some alarms.

That's unfortunate, because the story behind The Professor and the Madman could make for an exciting film. Here's the synopsis of the book that inspired the film:

The making of the Oxford English Dictionary was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, was stunned to discover that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. But their surprise would pale in comparison to what they were about to discover when the committee insisted on honoring him. For Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

That sounds neat! And strange! But this trailer makes the movie look like some uplifting, touching drama, which probably isn't the best idea. But hey, at least both Mel Gibson and Sean Penn both have giant beards. That's something, right?

The Professor and the Madman actually wrapped shooting in 2017, but it's been sitting unreleased due to legal issues. Gibson, who produced the film and at one point intended to direct, sued production company Voltage Pictures, claiming they refused him his right to final cut, as well as five additional shooting days. Voltage's denial was due to the film being over-budget. Gibson and director Farhad Safinia walked away from the project, and Voltage eventually won out in court. Now, the movie will finally see the light of day sometime this year.