'Game of Thrones' Star Natalie Dormer Joins Sean Penn, Mel Gibson in 'Professor and the Madman' (Exclusive)

Natalie Dormer - 2016 IFTA Film & Drama Awards -Getty - H 2016
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Farhad Safinia, who wrote Gibson’s 'Apocalypto,' is directing the project.

Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer will star opposite Mel Gibson and Sean Penn in The Professor and the Madman, Icon Productions' adaptation of Simon Winchester’s best-seller about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Farhad Safinia, who wrote Gibson’s Apocalypto, is directing the project, which Gibson has been trying to get off the ground since 1998. Eighteen years later, it’s about to happen, as principal photography begins in late September.

Voltage is repping the international rights and will be selling the film at TIFF. Gibson is producing with Bruce Davey.

Gibson will play Professor James Murray, who in 1857 set about compiling the OED, one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. Penn will play Dr. W.C. Minor, who submitted more than 10,000 entries but also was an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

Dormer will play a widow whose husband was killed by Penn and whose family he wants to help. A complicated romance ensues.  

Dormer’s run on Game of Thrones where she played Queen Margaery Tyrell recently ended and the actress will soon start production on the indie psychological revenge thriller In Darkness, which she also co-wrote with the film’s director Anthony Bryne. Emily Ratajkowski, Ed Skrein and Stacy Martin co-star.

Dormer is represented by Untitled Entertainment, UTA, United Agents, and Jackoway Tyerman.