In the 2008 film The Oxford Murders, the late John Hurt plays Arthur Seldom, a renowned professor of mathematics and logic at the University of Oxford. The film also refers to the proof of "Bormat's last theorem" - an obvious reference to Fermat's last theorem - which fixes the setting of the film at 1993.

Given this reference in the film to real-life mathematicians, I wonder whether Seldom himself was based on any real-life figure. Are there any hints towards this either in the film itself or its source novel, or statements to this effect by people involved in the making of either?

1 Answer 1


It appears that it was not.

Arthur Seldom was not based on a particular real-life mathematician. It was just a character that writer picked it up from his previous work, About Roderer, and that also shares some traits of the same character in About Roderer.

From an interview with writer Guillermo Martinez (this page is in Spanish and I translated it using Google. So I am posting English version. (Emphasis mine))

Eg: When you project, you conceive a novel, think of the end and then look for the characters or they are looking for, call the author? Because Arthur Seldom, protagonist of Crimes imperceptible appears already - although only - in About Roderer ...

GM: In general I think first of the end, but already with the main lines of the plot the characters emerge with some of their "necessary" traits. And there are also the first links between them ... In the case of imperceptible Crimes I decided to use what in About Roderer was only an available name, and incarnate him as the protagonist.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .