Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind adaptation proved that a biopic about a brilliant but psychologically-troubled mathematician could be both a box office smash and Best Picture Oscar-winner. It goes without saying then that Warner Bros. is pleased about Howard being interested in helming a similar project: The Imitation Game, a spec script recently acquired by the studio.
It turns out Howard isn’t the only big name eying The Imitation Game – Leonardo DiCaprio reportedly “has the inside track” to headline the film by playing famed mathematician Alan Turing.
Deadline says that Warner Bros. payed a seven-figure sum for the Imitation Game script, which was penned by newcomer Graham Moore – based on author Andrew Hodges’ biography, “Alan Turing: The Enigma”. Moore’s screenplay is already being talked up as something special, with a Deadline insider likening it (quality-wise) to The King’s Speech… well, “without the huge uplifting ending” that is.
Quick history: Turing was a British mathematician who came up with a definition for the universal machine (or Turing machine) during the 1930s, broke the German U-boat Enigma cipher in W.W. II, devised the foundations of the electronic computer a few years later, and designed the famous “Turing test” as a philosophical means of distinguishing between artificial/machine intelligence and human intellect.
Turing was also prosecuted for openly revealing his homosexuality during the 1950s, was forced to endure chemical castration as an alternative to his being imprisoned, and eventually committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple in 1954.
So yeah – a happy ending The Imitation Game will most definitely not have…
You can already see how the role of Alan Turing could fit DiCaprio like a glove, given that he’s already played two innovative and historically-important figures who were haunted by personal demons throughout their lives (see: The Aviator and this fall’s J. Edgar). While it’s not necessary for DiCaprio to play every part that fits such a description, there’s no denying that he does it well – and could accurately portray Turing as the sympathetic genius he was.
Turing’s tale is one that’s ripe for a cinematic adaptation, so it’s no wonder that Moore’s screenplay is already generating lots of positive buzz (not to take anything away from him, of course). While Howard’s directorial style has occasionally been decried as overly-romanticized or melodramatic, he has delivered several solid true-story dramas – including A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, and Frost/Nixon – and there’s little reason to doubt he wouldn’t help make The Imitation Game a genuinely moving “Oscar bait” drama.
Bear in mind, though: since neither Howard or DiCaprio is officially attached to The Imitation Game at this point – and both have pretty full work schedules, as it stands – it’s certainly possible an entirely different actor/director duo could ultimately sign on for the flick.
We will keep you updated on the status of The Imitation Game as more information is released.