London-born Benedict Cumberbatch has played a bunch of different roles in his decade-long career, but two of those roles have skyrocketed his popularity here in the States, and one of them is in a movie that won’t be released for another four months. As the equally crafty and catty titular detective in the superb Sherlock, Cumberbatch injected fun into a normally stuffy character. And as the villain in Star Trek Into Darkness, he’ll undoubtedly reinvent the wheel for dastardly British baddies. Beyond upcoming appearances as Wikileaks’ Julian Assange and The Hobbit‘s Necromancer, as well as films with Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep, what else could possibly be left for Cumberbatch to do?
According to Deadline, he’s in deep talks to play genius mathematician Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Alan Turing should be known to readers of this site for his groundbreaking work in code breaking — he cracked Germany’s infamous “Enigma Code” in World War II — as well as artificial intelligence. The Turing Test, for all its problems, is pretty much the standard when it comes to testing a computer’s ability to behave and communicate like a human. On a darker note, he was also famously prosecuted for being a homosexual in the 1950s, and the resulting events led to a suicide by cyanide poisoning.
The script for The Imitation Game was written by Graham Moore and was one of the hottest scripts of 2011, a popular entry in that year’s Black List of the best unproduced scripts. It’s already being touted as Oscar bait. It was originally set up at Warner Bros., with Leonardo DiCaprio in the leading role, but that fell through and DiCaprio will now be playing H.H. Holmes for Moore’s script The Devil in the White City.
Teddy Schwarzman’s Black Bear Pictures got the rights to the screenplay, and will be fully financing it. Director Morten Tyldum, responsible for the recent Danish crime thriller Headhunters, will be taking the job. Even if Cumberbatch doesn’t sign on, this looks like it will be an solid film, probably akin to A Beautiful Mind, but with more British people hating gays.