According to The Hollywood Reporter, Natalie Dormer (HBO’s Game of Thrones) is joining Icon Productions’ The Professor and the Madman opposite two-time Academy Award-winning stars Mel Gibson (The Expendables 3) and Sean Penn (The Angry Birds Movie). The movie is an adaptation of Simon Winchester’s book about the origins of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Gibson had acquired the film rights to Winchester’s book 15 years ago. Originally developing the project as a directing vehicle, he will instead be in front of the cameras, while screenwriter Farhad Safinia (Apocalypto) will helm. Todd Komarnicki and John Boorman wrote earlier drafts of Safinia’s screenplay. Gibson is co-producing with Bruce Davey. Voltage Pictures has international rights and will be selling the film at TIFF.
Gibson will play Professor James Murray who took on the extremely ambitious goal of creating the Oxford English Dictionary in 1857. Penn will play Dr. W.C. Minor, who submitted more than 10,000 entries but also was institutionalized in an asylum for the criminally insane. Dormer will play a widow whose husband was killed by Penn and whose family he wants to help. She becomes a love interest in a complicated relationship.
Dormer has completed her run on the HBO hit Game of Thrones as Queen Margaery Tyrell. On the big screen, she has been in The Hunger Games franchise and Jason Zada’s The Forest. She will star in next year’s pandemic thriller, Patient Zero. She is set to star as well in an indie psychological revenge thriller In Darkness, which she co-wrote with helmer Anthony Bryne in his feature film directorial debut.