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Michael Pitt channels Richard Dawkins in the film 'I Origins'

Fox Searchlight

Fox Searchlight

Still from the film "I Origins" starring Michael Pitt and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey.

The new film "I, Origins" from director Mike Cahill is a fascinating film that explores the relationship between science and spirituality.

Actor Michael Pitt stars as Dr. Ian Gray, a molecular biologist whose work revolves around the human eye. He falls in love with a mysterious woman who just happens to have a rare genetic mutation which creates irises of multiple colors.

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Michael Pitt joins Take Two to talk about channeling British evolutionary biologist and renowned atheist Richard Dawkins for " I, Origins." 

Interview Highlights:

On how he took inspiration from Dawkins as well as the thought of of making such an adamant atheist question his beliefs:

“He’s a fascinating. fascinating man. He can be very mischievous and provoking. And he’s doing that on purpose, but I was just totally blown away by all his lectures. … [He] was so data-driven and was just rejecting any kind of spiritual or organized religious groups, completely rejecting that. At one point I said to [director Michael Cahill], ‘If you could shake Dawkins … and crack just a little bit of his theory and have some light shine in on that, that would make him question his path. If we could do that, that would be a very interesting film.”

On how “I, Origins” portrays scientists in a different light than do most films:

“I feel like we’re portraying them well. There’s a stigma that these scientists are people that live in white lab coats. who have no sense of humor, who can’t talk to you about poetry or music, who never get laid, and who are very dry. It’s just completely the opposite. Everyone we met [in preparing for the film] was extremely passionate, extremely creative, had a great senses of humor. And they’re doing these amazing things, and [depicting this] has been very fulfilling for me.”

And what he feels the relationship between science and faith should be:

“One of the things I turned Mike onto was a book by the Dalai Lama. … He’s a scientist — an amateur scientist, a hobbyist, [but] he’s extremely interested in science and in the research of science. He wrote this book where he’s talking exactly about what we’re talking about in this film, which is science and spirituality. Where do they live? And can they live next to each other? What’s amazing about the Dalai Lama is that … whether you’re in this religion or not, it is a spiritual leader talking about this topic. He is never threatened by scientific discovers. When you’re threatened and you try to push science down, it actually discredits your belief. It actually makes you seem insecure about your belief.”


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