The origins of “The Imitation Game” date back to 2009 when producers Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky first became aware of Alan Turing’s story when Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized on behalf of the government for its treatment of the codebreaker after World War II. “Our first reaction was surprise because we had never heard of Alan Turing before,” reveals Ostrowsky during a webcam chat with Gold Derby (watch below). “We immediately started researching his story and found it incredibly compelling.”
Ostrowsky and Grossman then convinced Turing biographer Andrew Hodges that they were the perfect duo to bring his book to the screen, despite having no produced film credits. “We optioned the book, came back to the States and tried to set it up, but didn’t really know what that entailed,” says Grossman. She eventually met scripter Graham Moore at a party, and was impressed with his enthusiasm for Turing’s story.
Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) was a mathematician who broke the Nazi Enigma code during World War II, creating the world’s first computer in the process. In the early 1950s, he was charged with indecency and sentenced to chemical castration for having sex with a man. He committed suicide in 1954 at the age of 41.
“That’s the great tragedy of this man’s life,” adds Teddy Schwarzman, who came on to the project after Moore had finished a script. “To have cracked the Enigma code during World War II, not been able to tell anyone about it, to be basically the founder of computer science … and then in the 1950s lose his security clearance, lose his professorship, be prosecuted and convicted for gross indecencies simply because he had an intimate relationship with a man … that was so incredibly important for us to be telling. I think the benefit that this film has is hopefully we can tell both the injustice and the triumph of his life in a way that hopefully never allows it to happen again.”
During our candid conversation, they also reveal why Norwegian director Morten Tyldum was the perfect man to tell this very British tale and what made Cumberbatch an ideal Alan Turing.
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