The Imitation Game: ‘A tribute to being different’

For his latest role, Benedict Cumberbatch plays code-breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. He talks to Tom Brook about the brilliant and eccentric figure.

“As a mind, as a cryptographer, he had a huge influence,” says Benedict Cumberbatch, describing Alan Turing. The British mathematician is the subject of new biopic The Imitation Game, which shows him helping to crack the German Enigma code during World War II – and also focuses on his personal life. Turing was convicted for homosexual activity in 1952, and committed suicide two years later. He received a posthumous pardon from the Queen in December 2013.

“I think there are so many who don’t know what he stood for, the incredible achievements he did. I mean, he’s the forefather of computer science,” the film’s director Morten Tyldum tells Tom Brook. “He shortened the war maybe by years. He saved millions of lives.”

Cumberbatch – who stars alongside Keira Knightley – argues the film “attempts to represent a really extraordinary man in an unfathomable period of history and a story which frankly is not that widely known”. He has been tipped for a best actor Oscar for his performance.

“To me, it’s a tribute to being different, to not being normal, to being unique,” says Tyldum. “We need people to think different thoughts who are not following the norm if we’re going to move forward as a society … and I wanted to celebrate that.”

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