Alan Turing’s life story is one filled with such contrasting emotions that you would be hard-pressed to find anything similar. A British mathematician, computer scientist and more simply a genius, Turing is considered the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. With such glorious epithets before his name, one would have expected Turing to have lived a life of prosperity and acclaim befitting a man of his intelligence, one who was instrumental in breaking numerous German ciphers during World War II. But as luck would have it, some people are born in the wrong era itself. At a time when homosexual acts was illegal in United Kingdom, Turing’s homosexuality resulted in his criminal prosecution in 1952 and subsequent humiliating treatment at the hands of the authorities (in fact, in 2009, the then British Prime Minister offered an official public apology over the treatment of Turing). In June 1954, Turing was found dead. His cause of death, said to be from cyanide poisoning (contained in an apple), was declared to be suicide, though some claimed it to be accidental. And thus at the young age of 41, was lost one of the greatest minds of Britain.
The Imitation Game is the title of the indie movie which plans to bring the story of Alan Turing on the big screen. The role of Turing will be played by the rising star of Britain, Benedict Cumberbatch, and that itself should be a good enough reason to keep your eyes open for this movie. Cumberbatch is already set to appear as Julian Assange in the biopic drama The Fifth Estate, later this year. Joining Cumberbatch, as Hollywood Reporter reports, is the recently married Keira Knightley, who will play “a woman from a very conservative background who not only forms a complicated relationship with Turing but is there for him until the end”. Knightely has lost some steam in mainstream cinema post Pirates of the Caribbean, and it would be refreshing to see more of her on the big screen, starting with Jack Ryan opposite Chris Pine slated for a December 2013 release. But she has been involved in period flicks such as The Duchess and more recently, Anna Karenina, which could be a reason she is being sought after. The Imitation Game will be directed by the Norwegian Morten Tyldum, who was nominated for a BAFTA for 2011’s Headhunters. There is no formal release date announced yet, though a late 2014 release could be on the cards if the casting goes ahead as planned.
It seems like a strong casting for The Imitation Game, pairing Knightley with Cumberbatch, It’s a mesmerizing story that deserves a narration on the big screen (only other movie on Turing’s life that I could locate is Breaking The Code, a 1996 TV movie). Hopefully, it will turn out to be something profound and thought-provoking, honouring the work and time of Alan Turing, in the way he deserves!