Hollywood star Mel Gibson may have been roundly criticised for his wonky Scots accent in Braveheart, but it hasn’t stopped him from playing a Denholm man in his new film.
The Aussie actor takes on the role of Sir James Murray, the lexicographer who was the primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary until his death in 1915.
Gibson bought the rights to Simon Winchester’s book The Surgeon of Crowthorne in 1999, and it has taken 17 years for him to get it to the screen.
The film tells the tale of how Murray compiled the first edition of the dictionary, and how he received more 10,000 entries from a convicted killer at an insane asylum – Dr William Minor, played by Oscar winner Sean Penn.
The movie, which is still in production, also stars Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer and Fantastic Four actor Ioan Gruffudd.
Gibson was trained during filming by dialect coach Adrian McCourt.
However, whether Gibson masters the Hawick accent or not, it will certainly put the region in the spotlight.
Hawick’s honorary provost Stuart Marshall is delighted.
He said: “I think it’s fantastic that such a famous movie star has been chosen to play the part of such a great son from our region.
“I’m sure many of us can’t wait to see the movie, not only to witness Mel’s great acting talents, but more importantly to see if he has actually managed to master our unique and very proud accent.
“Some people may well have been critical over Mel’s accent in the blockbuster Braveheart, but I am sure that his researchers have well advised him that when it comes to perfecting our local dialect, then failure isn’t an option.
“Either way, this movie is certainly great news for Hawick and Denholm and for such a talented actor playing the lead role is in my mind just brilliant.”