WB Picks Up Script About Math Wiz Alan Turing For Leonardo DiCaprio; Ron Howard Eyes Directing

by Simon Dang
October 12, 2011 1:52 AM
6 Comments
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Alan Turing isn't a name many (if anyone) would recognize, but it's often the low-key biopics like this one that make the more interesting films.

Warner Bros. have just purchased "The Imitation Game," a spec script about the brilliant Turing from first-time scribe Graham Moore for a seven-figure amount, with none other than Leonardo DiCaprio "chasing" the leading role. The actor's potential involvement is reportedly a major reason why the script created so much interest with Ron Howard, who is rumored to be eyeing a return to math genius territory after "A Beautiful Mind," expressing his interest in helming a biopic of the English multi-hyphenate that Deadline describes as a "mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, computer scientist, criminally prosecuted homosexual and tortured soul."

Though it's his screenwriting debut, Moore is no stranger to storytelling having written the Conan Doyle-esque crime novel "The Sherlockian," which has reportedly earned solid reviews. The script he has crafted here is one that has apparently earned quite the following with one Deadline confidante describing it as "'The King's Speech' without the huge uplifting ending." Much of that probably has to do with Turing's eventual suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple; an incident which reportedly inspired Steve Jobs to name his company, Apple. Here's a lengthier synopsis of Turing's story, courtesy of Amazon:

Alan Turing (1912-54) was a British mathematician who made history. His breaking of the German U-boat Enigma cipher in World War II ensured Allied-American control of the Atlantic. But Turing's vision went far beyond the desperate wartime struggle. Already in the 1930s he had defined the concept of the universal machine, which underpins the computer revolution. In 1945 he was a pioneer of electronic computer design. But Turing's true goal was the scientific understanding of the mind, brought out in the drama and wit of the famous "Turing test" for machine intelligence and in his prophecy for the twenty-first century.

Drawn in to the cockpit of world events and the forefront of technological innovation, Alan Turing was also an innocent and unpretentious gay man trying to live in a society that criminalized him. In 1952 he revealed his homosexuality and was forced to participate in a humiliating treatment program, and was ever after regarded as a security risk. His suicide in 1954 remains one of the many enigmas in an astonishing life story.

No word on when the project could come together, but with DiCaprio currently shooting Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" in addition to a few projects already on his horizon, and Ron Howard in the same boat with his Formula 1 drama "Rush," we don't imagine it'll be any time soon.

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More: Actors, Film Studios, Ron Howard, Warner Bros

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6 Comments

  • Patrick Sammon | October 12, 2011 4:55 AMReply

    There's also a drama documentary in the works about Turing. It broadcasts on Channel 4 in the UK later this year. Plans are being developed for worldwide distribution. http://www.turingfilm.com/

  • carrie | October 12, 2011 4:21 AMReply

    i'm going to write my usual commentary on Dicaprio's movie projects:it's unless his 26th project if you look his IMDB

  • James | October 12, 2011 3:49 AMReply

    I went to the same school as Turing. We had a lab named after him. I failed chemistry (or was it physics?) in it.

  • Todd | October 12, 2011 3:42 AMReply

    I like Leo, but 2 hours of an English accent from him? No thanks.

    But this is right up Ron Howard's easy-historical-narrative alley. I assume the crux of the film will be on the ENIGMA decryption and the subsequent sexual persecution and suicide. Good fodder for pseudo-intellectual pot-boiler awards season.

  • Mike_M | October 12, 2011 3:38 AMReply

    I recognize Alan Turing, any computer science student or professional will (or should)... looking forward to this story, but wish it wasnt Ron Howard directing though.

  • Mike | October 12, 2011 3:15 AMReply

    Au contraire, Turing is a name any one who has taken a computer science course or read about artificial intelligence would recognize.

    He's also name-dropped in The Social Network. ;-)

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