A NEW film tells the tale of two remarkable men who created history with the writing of the Oxford English Dictionary.
The Professor and the Madman - starring Mel Gibson and Sean Penn - traces the compilation of the dictionary from 1857.
Gibson stars as Professor James Murray, the lexicographer who edited the original OED. Sean Penn plays the role of William Minor, who contributed to the dictionary from the confines of a lunatic asylum.
The dramatic biopic is based on the best-selling novel by Simon Winchester and tells the extraordinary true tale of madness, genius and obsession.
Professor Murray (Gibson) took on the daunting challenge of creating the most comprehensive dictionary ever developed, but knew that it would take him and his team over a century to compile all known definitions.
However, by 'crowdsourcing' the work and enlisting definitions from people all over the world, the dictionary could be accomplished in mere decades.
As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor Murray, discovered that an American Civil War veteran, Dr. W.C. Minor (Penn), had submitted more than ten thousand words. But when the committee insisted on honouring him, a shocking truth came to light that no one could have ever predicted.
The film also stars Natalie Dormer and Steve Coogan.
In cinemas from February 20.
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