An official The Professor And The Madman trailer has arrived. Within these few minutes, we see Academy Award-winning actors Mel Gibson (Professor James Murray) and Sean Penn (Dr. W.C. Minor or The Madman, obviously) get their period drama on while they tackle writing the Oxford English Dictionary. This is a very serious matter hailing from 1857, and their work was both ambitious and revolutionary. Not only that, but this was perhaps one of the earliest (and most effective) known efforts at crowdsourcing. It’s a “true tale” and one that’s based on Simon Winchester’s best-selling novel of the same name. However, unless you can completely suspend your belief here, perhaps you’re distracted by the epic beards of the two main players.
Now, I do not consider myself to be a beard expert by any stretch. Only lately have I come to really appreciate them, but I am able to narrow down a favorite on this occasion. One one side of the ring, we’ve got Gibson, who’s been sporting something close to this for years. This is an all-natural beard and one that Gibson has chosen to wear even in his daily life without coersion. It’s an intellectually proper beard but also one that’s not extraordinarily groomed, so perhaps we can question, “Who’s really the madman here?” at some pivotal point in the film. (Crowdsourcing, really? That’s madness.)