The fact that you’re able to read this article through the “magic” of the Internet right now is a testament to the impact made by Alan Turing: the late, great, British mathematician and cryptanalyst, who is generally regarded to be the father of modern computer science. Turing spent his days code-breaking for the Allies during WWII, then he turned his attention to research and development in academic fields ranging from stored-program computing to mathematical biology; that is, before his life ended in tragedy.
Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) has officially begun production on The Imitation Game, which is a cinematic biographical treatment of Turning’s life and times. The film’s brilliant subject is being portrayed by the Star Trek Into Darkness and Sherlock fan-favorite, Benedict Cumberbatch; the actor will be joined by his Atonement costar Keira Knightley, who is going to play Joan Clarke: one of Turing’s co-workers after WWII, who eventually became his fiancee (though, the proposed marriage didn’t happen for reasons that we’ll touch upon later).
Imitation Game, as based on the script written by Graham Moore, focuses heavily on “the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II,” similar to the 2001 mystery/drama Enigma starring Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet (Scott’s character is loosely based upon the real-life Turing). Moore’s screenplay was purchased for a seven-figure sum by Warner Bros. in 2011, with early word of mouth from insiders drawing comparisons to the Best Picture Oscar-winning The King’s Speech (in terms of the script’s awards potential).
Appropriately enough, King’s Speech co-producer Moore is also backing Imitation Game, alongside Moore as one of the executive producers and Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky as producers. There are several noteworthy creative talents who are collaborating behind the scenes on the film, including the Oscar-winning editor William Goldenberg (Argo), director of photography Óscar Faura (The Orphanage), production designer Maria Djurkovic (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and composer Clint Marsell, who has provided the original musical accompaniment for all of director Darren Aronofsky’s films to date (including next year’s Biblical epic Noah).
Turing, as many reading this article may be aware, was gay in real life and not only ended up calling off his union to Clarke for that reason (even though the latter was aware of her husband-to-be’s sexual preferences), but he was thereafter convicted of indecency by the British Establishment and was chemically-castrated – leading to his suicide not long thereafter. The gross injustice that was inflicted upon Turing is expected to be (at the least, partly) addressed in The Imitation Game, which may be part of the reason that Leonardo DiCaprio was interested in headlining the film early on. (Insert token “Give Leo his Oscar already!” joke here.)
Cumberbatch, however, not only has the advantage of actually being English like the real Turing, but he also possess the sort of scholarly appearance and gentler features that are called for by a sensitive portrayal of the historical figure. Moreover, the actor has probably grown comfortable playing hyper-intelligent yet socially-awkard geniuses at this stage, after his ongoing role as Sherlock Holmes and similar turns as real-life figures Stephen Hawking in the 2004 TV movie Hawking, Vincent Van Gogh in Van Gogh: Painted with Words, and his role as Julian Assange in the upcoming Wikileaks drama The Fifth Estate.
Combine that with the accredited production team and talented supporting cast – which includes Matthew Goode (Stoker), Rory Kinnear (Skyfall) and Cumberbatch’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy costar Mark Strong – and there’s a lot working in favor of The Imitation Game, with regard to the prospect that the film will prove to be a quality biography. Let us know your own thoughts/feelings about the movie in the comments section.
The Imitation Game is expected to reach theaters by late 2014.
Source: Black Bear Pictures, FilmNation Entertainment