Benedict Cumberbatch has made a glorious career playing infinitely intelligent characters, whether they be a deductive detective on BBC’s Sherlock, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate or manipulative villains in Star Trek Into Darkness and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Oh, and he also played Stephen Hawking and Vincent Van Gogh. So, when filmmakers were looking for an actor to convincingly portray the brilliant scientific genius Alan Turing for The Imitation Game, the choice was clear.
In honour of Turing’s posthumous pardon from the Queen on Tuesday, Black Bear Pictures released the first photo of Cumberbatch as the enigmatic codebreaker via Twitter. In the picture (above), the British actor is standing in front of a complex code-breaking machine. This contraption is likely the Bombe, which deciphered encoded German messages during World War II. Beyond his technical expertise, Turing also invented a machine that many consider to be the basis for modern computing.
Although the Bombe saved countless numbers of lives during the War, the British government later prosecuted Turing for being a homosexual. In 1952, the government even subjected him to chemical castration for his so-called illicit affairs. In 1954, Turing committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple.
The Imitation Game comes from director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) and boasts a terrific cast, including Keira Knightley, Mark Strong, Charles Dance and Matthew Goode. The screenplay comes from Graham Moore, who is making his feature debut with this formerly black-listed script. Although StudioCanal will distribute the film in the U.K., no U.S. company has snatched the rights to The Imitation Game, but a 2014 release date stateside is very likely.