december 19, 2016
Simon Winchester, whose book The Professor and the Madman has been adapted for the big screen, says the Aussie actor's accent will be spot on.
Mel Gibson plays a Scot for the first time in 21 years in his new film – but his dodgy Braveheart accent has gone for good.
The author behind Gibson’s new project has revealed he believes Scots will approve of the Aussie actor’s efforts this time around.
Gibson’s attempts at a Scottish accent when he played William Wallace in 1995’s Braveheart came in for a lot of criticism. But writer Simon Winchester is confident the actor has banished that for good in his role in The Professor and the Madman.
In the film based on Winchester’s book, he plays Sir James Murray, who, with help from a convicted killer, created the Oxford English Dictionary.
The story revolves around Murray discovering that his contributor William Minor was a convicted killer and patient in the Broadmoor criminal lunatic asylum.
Winchester, who lives in Massachusetts, said he had been thrilled to see the film.
He added: “It was so exciting. They were all there because of this little book I wrote. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I’m so moved by it.
The story of Murray and Minor landed in Winchester’s lap through his editor in New York, who spotted a footnote in a book which referenced Minor’s contribution to the dictionary.
It’s almost two decades since he wrote the book. The printers produced a first run of 10,000 with little expectation it would sell more than that.
But it captured the imagination of readers, as well as filmmakers.
During filming, Winchester met both Gibson and Penn and dialect coach Adrian McCourt, who helped Gibson perfect his accent.
The author said: “The final scenes of the film show a guard taking Minor down to the docks to board a ship and return to Washington, where he was placed in an asylum.