Mel Gibson Settles ‘Professor and the Madman’ Suit Ahead of Release

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson has settled a legal battle with Voltage Pictures over “The Professor and the Madman,” a film that tells the gothic backstory of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Gibson sued the production company in 2017, alleging that it had reneged on a deal to give him approval of the final cut. Gibson stars as Professor James Murray, the lexicographer who edited the original OED. Sean Penn plays the role of William Minor, who contributed to the dictionary from the confines of a lunatic asylum.

The film is set for a limited release on May 10.

Gibson and director Farhad Safinia walked off the set in January 2017, after Voltage CEO Nicolas Chartier balked at shooting scenes at the University of Oxford. Chartier alleged that the film was already behind schedule and over budget, and wanted to shoot the scenes instead at Trinity College in Dublin.

At one point, Gibson’s side accused Chartier of seeking to inflate production expenses in an effort to defraud the Irish film tax incentive program. Voltage denied the allegation.

Gibson lost a critical round of the litigation in June, as a judge denied his bid to reclaim rights to the film.

A trial had been set for May 6, but Gibson’s attorney notified the court on Tuesday that the case had been settled. Terms were not disclosed.

Safinia filed a separate suit in federal court, alleging that he owned the screenplay and that Voltage was infringing on his copyright. Judge Consuelo Marshall ruled against Safinia on March 20, and Safinia was in the process of seeking a reconsideration of that ruling. However, on Wednesday the parties notified the court that the case has also been settled.