Mel Gibson to play Dr James Murray
The following story appeared in the national 'Herald' newspaper on November 24th, 1998:
Gibson not lost for words in new role
HOLLYWOOD star Mel Gibson is to play the role of another Scot, but one far removed from his
Braveheart portrayal of William Wallace.
Gibson is to play Dr James Murray the Scottish academic who befriended a murderer to produce the first Oxford Dictionary.
In what will be Gibson's unlikliest role, the actor will star as the ninteenth century eccentric who rode around Oxford on a tricycle and spent decades compiling the dictionary that was to define standard English throughout the world.
Murray became obsessed with his colossal task and welcomed the help of an American doctor, Dr W C Minor, who carefully researched and submitted definitions for the dictionary.
For 20 years, Murray received letters from Minor containing his erudite contributions. The letters came from Broadinoor, which Murray assumed was Dr Minor's estate in the English countryside.
In fact it was the hospital for the criminally insane where Minor was sent in 1872 after the wealthy Harvard graduate inexplicably killed a stranger in London.
It is expected that Robin Williams will play the role of the mad Amencan.
Murray rose from being a humble teacher in his native Hawick, where his father was a tailor, to become a knight of the realm in 1908.
The film rights of The Surgeon of Crowthorne, the book by Simon Winchester that tells the story, were sold after ferocious bidding last year to the French director Luc Bresson.
But now Gibson's production company, Icon, has entered into a co-production deal to film the story.
(c) The Herald 1998
Mel Gibson also appeared on BBC Scotland television news joking about when has was asked about the James Murray part, and saying 'I said ....Och, I think I could play that part ...' in a mock Scottish/Braveheart accent.