Mel Gibson Back In Action With Several Big Releases Slated For This Year

Mel Gibson is set to star alongside Sean Penn in an upcoming film about two obsessive men, according to The Guardian. The actor-turned-director joins Penn to star in the film adaptation of the bestselling novel The Professor and the Madman.

Mel Gibson acquired the rights to the novel written by Simon Winchester and is set to play Professor James Murray, who created the Oxford English Dictionary in 1857. Penn, meanwhile, will play retired army surgeon WC Minor, who helped Professor Murray submit over 10,000 entries while the Professor was locked up in an asylum for the criminally insane.

The full name of Winchester’s novel is The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words, but the film will reportedly be released under the title of The Professor and the Madman.

Mel Gibson acquired the movie rights nearly two decades ago and it seems like the film is finally making big steps toward its production. The Braveheart director/actor is also set to produce the upcoming real-life drama about the events of the mid-19th century. Even though Mel Gibson initially had plans to direct the film himself, he handed the project over to Apocalypto writer Farhad Safinia, who also worked on the TV series Boss.

This year has been quite busy for Mel Gibson already, as the 60-year-old director is starring in Blood Father, a revenge thriller that hits theaters on August 12, and will once again put his directorial abilities to the test in Hacksaw Ridge, the World War II drama that hits theaters on November 4.

Earlier this summer, it was reported that Mel Gibson will direct the second part of The Passion of the Christ, which he directed, produced, and wrote the screenplay for. Penn’s last and only project this year is his voice work in The Angry Birds Movie.

Mel Gibson’s upcoming World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge is particularly anticipated by movie critics around the world, according to the Independent. The plot is centered around Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who was the first ever conscientious objector in American history to receive the Medal of Honor.

Doss, who was in action during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, didn’t carry lethal weapons due to his religious beliefs. The story about the army medic inspired Mel Gibson so deeply that he decided to tell the world about it through the cinematic version.

To tell the story, Mel Gibson invited stars including Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man), Vince Vaughn (True Detective), Sam Worthington (Avatar), and Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies).

It should be noted that Hacksaw Ridge is Mel Gibson’s first project as director in 10 years, as the last time he was at the helm of a movie was in 2006’s Apocalypto. His directing credits also include 1995’s Braveheart and 2004’s The Passion of the Christ.

Among Mel Gibson’s most recent acting credits are The Expendables 3, which was released two years ago, and upcoming revenge thriller Blood Father. Hacksaw Ridge hits theaters in the U.S. on November 4, while the U.K. release date hasn’t been announced yet.

Mel Gibson and his Hacksaw Ridge actor Vince Vaughn have recently paid a visit to Auburn’s local diner, according to AL. The duo sat down at Hamilton’s after attending a film screening of the upcoming revenge thriller.

Danielle Walker, a hostess who was working at the diner at the time Mel Gibson and Vaughn arrived, said there were only a few customers when the duo entered the restaurant.

“We only had about two other tables in the restaurant that were filled, staff was really excited though. We were all in the back just trying to playing it cool. We all called our parents.”

[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]