Magazine article Screen International

TIFF 2015: Dev Patel Talks 'The Man Who Knew Infinity'

Magazine article Screen International

TIFF 2015: Dev Patel Talks 'The Man Who Knew Infinity'

Article excerpt

The star of HBO's The Newsroom and Neill Blomkamp's Chappie will next be seen in the Toronto world premiere of The Man Who Knew Infinity, playing a poor Brahmin maths prodigy from South India who became a Fellow of the Royal Society and Trinity College.

Patel plays Srinivasa Ramanujan, who burned bright in his short life and forged a pioneering collaboration with the Cambridge don G.H. Hardy and earned the admiration of the stuffy English establishment.

Ramanujan died aged 32 from tuberculosis contracted in Cambridge during World War One, however nearly a century later his work remains an important part of string theory and research into black holes.

Matthew Brown directs from the book by Robert Kanigel, while Ed Pressman produced alongside Jim Young, Joe Thomas, Brown, Sofia Sondervan and Jon Katz. Thomas arranged financing with his partners from Xeitgeist Entertainment.

When did you first hear about Srinivasa Ramanujan?

The first time I heard of him was in Good Will Hunting during this conversation between Stellan Skarsgård's character and Robin Williams' character.

Matthew Brown gave you the script a couple of years ago. What happened next?

When Matt came to me the first thing I said to him was nobody was going to go take away anything about mathematics but [they what they would take away was] this beautiful relationship between mentor and student. I wanted to work more on the relationship between these two men. We hit a chord on that.

Then they went out to Jeremy Irons and he came on board and things really started up. Matt is really collaborative and he had had this for over ten years and it was his passion and determination that got it offthe ground.

Who was Ramanujan and what does he mean to India?

He was this extraordinary man who was the first Indian Fellow at Cambridge. He was a school drop-out. He was an abstract mathematician. He came from a small part of India in the south and believed every mathematical equation he did was a representation of god. …

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