Keira Knightley in Talks to Join Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘The Imitation Game’

Published 2 years ago by

Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina Keira Knightley in Talks to Join Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Despite the fact that many geeks and tech experts consider Alan Turing to be the father of modern computer science, the brilliant mathematician and codebreaker has not yet had his life story told in a biopic. Thomas Jericho had his turn in the 2001 film Enigma, in which he was played by Dougray Scott, but now it’s time for a return to Enigma codebreaking with The Imitation Game, a story of how Turing rose to fame as one of the foremost codebreakers of World War II, and how his life ended tragically after being prosecuted for his relationship with another man.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Ron Howard were circling the project quite early on in its development, as actor and director respectively. Since then, however, Beneduict Cumberbatch has signed up to play the lead, and indie director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) has been hired to direct it. Screenwriter Graham Moore reportedly sold the script, which is based on the biography “Alan Turing: The Enigma”, to Warner Bros. for a seven-figure sum, but it’s being shot for the modest budget of $15 million.

THR reports that Keira Knightley is currently in talks to star in The Imitation Game as, “a woman from a very conservative background who not only forms a complicated relationship with Turing but is there for him until the end.” Her being from a conservative background is particularly relevant in this biopic, as in 1952 Alan Turing was arrested and convicted for his homosexuality (which was illegal at the time). He submitted to a ‘treatment program’ of chemical castration rather than go to prison, and was barred from working for the government in his previous occupation as a cryptographic consultant. He died of cyanide poisoning two years later, and is widely considered to have committed suicide.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Atonement Keira Knightley in Talks to Join Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

A significant amount of Knightley’s film career so far has been dedicated to period dramas (and yes, we’re counting Pirates of the Caribbean as a period drama). She recently played the lead role in Joe Wright’s adaptation of Leo Tolstoy novel Anna Karenina, and was also one of the subjects of David Cronenberg’s biographical film about Sigmung Freud and Carl Jung, A Dangerous Method. She’s also worked with Cumberbatch before in another period drama, Atonement.

In 2009, after a petition that received thousands of signatures, Gordon Brown issued a posthumous government public apology to Turing for the way he was treated. The same year, a documentary short film called Decoding Alan Turing was released as a study of both Turing’s work and his personal life, including his legal persecution and death.

This won’t be the first time that Cumberbatch has played one of history’s most brilliant minds; in 2004 he played a young Stephen Hawking in a biopic of the scientist that examined his formative years, and he also played Vincent Van Gogh in a TV movie. Casting for The Imitation Game is off to a strong start, and this is likely to be a must-watch for computer geeks and Cumberbatch fans alike.


The Imitation Game doesn’t have a release date yet, but we’ll keep you updated on any further casting news.

Source: THR

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  1. Sounds great. Not something a lot of people would go and see on a massive screen for the usual price of a movie ticket but something that will do well if a TV audience gives it a chance.

  2. The script is great and has a lot of humour. Sorry but why wont you go to the cinema for anything but shoot em ups. Based on your arguement the Kings Speech would have been a box office dud. Thank god some people are continuing to make intelligent movies. I suppose all you want to do is watch endless marvel fights.

    • Laughable comment.

      I actually enjoy these kinds of movies, I was just commenting that most audiences don’t seem to appreciate them so much and do better on television where a wider audience could potentially “discover” it.

      But then again, I guess my advance sceening ticket for Life Of Pi due to me liking these kinds of movies that put storytelling above action sequences (even if I do like action movies if done right) makes me easy for you to judge without knowing a damn thing about me.

      Well done for becoming yet another ignorant, nameless internet user.

      • No offense, but your previous comment does sound like you believe nowadays audiences won’t get in theatres unless the movies are action packed and full of special effect, and I have to agree with Guest that there still are moviegoers paying tickets for good story, cinematography and performances; the TV audience you indicated is an unnessary remark; the indie/ art house movie market still exists, to say the least, and if such movies are very accessible, they may easily reach the mass audiences and make profits, eg.Silver Linings Playbook, and yes, Life of Pi, which grosses more than $600M globally, and the actual and only star of that movie is the director, Ang Lee.

  3. I like the actors but I will have to pass on this movie

  4. Love Benedict Cumberbatch (I’ll forgive the typo :). I’m one of the many waiting on pins and needles for the next season of Sherlock. Although K. Nightly was excellent in A Dangerous Method, I don’t fancy her all that much.

  5. I simply delight majorly because this is another project that brings Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley (who are both my favorite actor and actress) together on one screen. They were great in Atonement and I can’t wait to see them in this one.
    Though both of them has done various genres, this is is the typical kind of movie that they used to take on, which focuses more on the quality than bringing light entertainment. It’s a good opportunity to prove their acting talents, and I’m sure they’ll deliver wonderful performances.
    For me personally, I would go to cinema and watch this movie if I have the chance. It will be worth it!
    Hope that in the future, Benedict and Keira will work on another project together again! And fingers crossed…hope this one deserve at least Oscar