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Alan Turing the Hollywood film

AlanTuring.jpgAlan Turing, the man who is widely accepted as the "father" of computer science and who devised a series of techniques for breaking German ciphers including the bombe, a machine which could find the settings for the Enigma code machine, will receive another outing in film.

He's already been referenced by Dougray Scott's portrayal of Jericho in the film Enigma, but now it looks like he could be the leading character in a film from Graham Moore's script about the hero turned villain by a sexually backwards country.

Alan Turing was a great man, full stop. He was a mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist and developed many concepts, machines and processes used in computer science well after his death. Not only is he credited with helping break many German codes during the war as he worked for the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, but he was the man behind the breaking of the Enigma machine, created the designed for the first stored computer program, and predicted chemical reactions that were observed after his death.

He was a great man, and undoubtedly he saved many lives during the war and perhaps helped shorten it. For that he received an OBE and became a Fellow of the Royal Society, and quite frankly he should have received much, much more.

Except he was a homosexual, and for that the government had dispensed with his services and the courts decreed he could either receive injections of oestrogen to curb his desires or go to prison. This began his personal struggles and in 1954 he died. The post-mortem determined he'd committed suicide by cyanide, but his mother still protests that and says it was accidental after an experiment went wrong.

Whatever the real reason, he was betrayed and forgotten by his country who, you could say, were directly responsible for his downfall and death, despite his obvious patriotism and the great things he did for Britain.

It already reads as a great plot for a film, and that would appear to be what Hollywood thinks as Warner Bros. have bought the script for The Imitation Game by Graham Moore, a first time feature scriptwriter.

Deadline through The Guardian say they have the "inside track" that Leonardo DiCaprio is interested in playing the lead as is Ron Howard interested in directing the film. Not too surprising it would attract such big names, but is DiCaprio the right actor for the role? I don't think so, and I'm sure his name is being used as he's the big name in Hollywood roles right now and he's playing J. Edgar Hoover, not a million miles away.

The story of Alan Turing has been see in the 1986 much nominated play Breaking the Code as well as in a British television series, both of which starred Derek Jacobi as the man himself.

From all accounts the script does deal with the bad as much as the good. What I hope is that it remains factual, honest and open, and turns to a British cast with filming in England.




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