Director of Gibson film files suit to have it destroyed

The director of Mel Gibson's Oxford Dictionary movie is looking to destroy a producer's cut of the film, saying it does not reflect his wishes.

Farhad Safinia, the writer and director of Professor and the Madman, filed a restraining order against producers Voltage Pictures on Wednesday, accusing them of violating his copyright to the screenplay, Variety reported.

"Defendants took the existing footage and pieced it together themselves without my vision or input. I never authorised defendants to make their version of the film," Sarfinia says in the suit.

The director, who accused Voltage of shopping the film to Netflix and agents at the Cannes and Toronto film festivals, is asking the court to block any release of the film and impound the producer's cut so it can be scrapped. He included the film's full screenplay as an exhibit in his claim.

Sarfinia's lawsuit follows an earlier one from star Gibson, who in August claimed Voltage had breached its agreement to produce the movie by not allowing Sarfinia to shoot key scenes at Oxford University, thus preventing him from completing a final cut.

Gibson's production company Icon Entertainment is a producer on the film and, according to his suit, has final choice over which cut is released.

The film - based on Simon Winchester's The Surgeon of Crowthorne, which Gibson had reportedly been adapting for almost 20 years - stars Gibson as the 'professor', James Murray, who began compiling the Oxford English Dictionary in 1857, and Sean Penn as the 'madman', Dr William Chester Minor, who wrote over 10,000 entries while a patient at a "lunatic asylum".

Gibson had originally planned on directing the film, before handing over duties to Sarfinia, his screenwriting partner on 2006's Apocalypto.

The film, which also stars Game of Thrones' Natalie Dormer, was initially due for release this year.

This story Director of Gibson film files suit to have it destroyed first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.