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Warner Bros. Seeks Out David Yates For Alan Turing Project 'The Imitation Game'

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by Kevin Jagernauth
November 15, 2011 2:37 PM
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Director Says He Turned Down 'The Stand' Because He Thinks It Will Work Better As A Mini-Series

Warner Bros. have been eagerly trying to keep "Harry Potter" director David Yates at the studio for his next film. Over the summer, they offered up four projects for the director choose from: "Cicero," a potential gangster franchise; the revitionist fairy tale flick "Fables"; an adaptation of Jonathan Tropper's "This Is Where I Leave You" and a multi-film take on Stephen King's epic "The Stand." Everything seemed good to go on the latter, but the director quietly dropped out and Warner Bros. began seeking other helmers, giving Ben Affleck first crack at taking it on. But they haven't given up on Yates yet, and they've got another project they'd like him to take a look at.

Even though he just signed on for a big screen reboot of the beloved "Doctor Who," Deadline report that WB are sending "The Imitation Game" his way. The script, picked up last month for seven figures, was initially reported to have Leonardo DiCaprio chasing the lead with Ron Howard directing. In any event, based on the biography "Alan Turing: The Enigma," the film is a bioipic of the English multi-hyphenate -- mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, computer scientist -- whose cracking of ciphers made a massive difference in World War II and whose exploration into early computer design paved the way for the technologies we have now. However, he was a closeted homosexual who, once he came out, subjected himself to "treatment" programs and sadly took his own life in 1954. It could certainly be a game change from the spectacle of the boy wizard, which may be exactly what Yates is in the mood for.

But he's also proving to be exacting about his choices. In a recent interview with Collider Yates reveals that the studio's vision for "The Stand" as a big blockbuster movie with set pieces didn't gel with his own interpretation of the material, leading him to exit the movie.

“My issues though were about the adaptation. I wanted to work with ['Harry Potter' writer] Steve Kloves, Steve Kloves wanted to work with me, we were both committed to doing it, but in that time it took to let go of 'Potter' and to think about how we would tackle the adaptation, we both decided that it wasn't for us, so we left it. We sort of withdrew basically," Yates explained. 

"What I love about King's work and what I love about 'The Stand' is the fact that Stephen King really puts you into these people's lives, and you see the world from a very intimate human level, which normally is something I love," Yates said. 

"But we felt this pressure to make these super tentpole movies with this material, and the things that you get in Potter - which are these extraordinary episodes of action - they didn't exist in the material, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to deliver the kind of movie that ultimately the studio was hoping to get from this material,“ he said. “I could see making a miniseries from it, a really interesting, intricate, layered, enjoyable long-burn of a miniseries, I could see that, but what was missing for me were the big movie moments in the material, the big set pieces."

It's some frank talk from a director who knows about adaptation tentpole material. But it shows the level of respect Yates has that WB still are eager to work with him even though he turned down a potential huge moneymaker. Now whether or not WB will need that advice about his approach remains to be seen (doubtful), but clearly Yates is a blockbuster moviemaker with a clear idea that the material needs to stand on its own first.

So we'll see how this plays out, but for now, we want to know who's gonna take over the iconic "Doctor Who." And we've got a few suggestions.

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