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The story behind the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is about to be made into a film with the intriguing title Professor and the Madman.

Mel Gibson bought the rights to the novel The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words by Simon Winchester back in 1998 based on the true story behind the making of the OED. Now, more than twenty years later, the project is ready to go, with Gibson starring alongside Sean Penn.

Gibson takes on the role of Professor James Murray who began compiling entries for the OED in 1857. Penn will play Dr W C Minor, an inmate of an asylum for the criminally insane who submitted more than 10,000 entries to the OED.

Apocalypto writer Farhad Safinia is set to direct the film. Safinia also created the American political drama series Boss, which starred Kelsey Grammar.

You can buy the book here in Australia and here in the UK.

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