Mel Gibson and Sean Penn are in Dublin to make their new film, The Professor and the Madman

Based on the best-selling historical novel by Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman tells the story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. 

Gibson will portray the dictionary's creator, Professor James Murray, with Penn playing his associate, Doctor WC Minor - a patient at the Broadmoor psychiatric institution who was responsible for over 10,000 entries in the dictionary. The cast also includes young Irish actors Rob McCormack, Abigail Coburn, Zoe Moran, Phonsie Wardell and Nora Cooper.

The film, which goes into production at the end of the month, is directed by Farhad Safinia, who wrote Gibson's 2006 film Apocalypto.

Farhad Safinia

The Professor and the Madman has received funding from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board with Dublin company Fastnet Films among the producers. It will film for eight weeks in the capital. 

Gibson and Penn are no strangers to Ireland. Gibson, whose mother was born in Ireland, has dual Irish-US citizenship. He made his 1995 Oscar-winning adventure Braveheart here and was honoured with an Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema award at the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs) in 2008.

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Penn, the son of Irish-American actress Eileen Ryan, was in Dublin in 2010 to film This Must Be the Place, the story of a disaffected rock star who embarks on a journey of self-discovery. 

Sean Penn in This Must Be the Place

Gibson can next be seen in action-thriller Blood Father from October 7.