Next year, 2012, is the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birth with many events being planned around the world. This week Warner Bros outbid other companies for the script of a biopic based on Turing's life.
Alan Turing the British mathematician, logician and computer scientist who used all of these skills to help decrypt the Nazi codes during World War II, is now recognised as a hero.
This wasn't always the case. For many years Turing's achievements were overshadowed by the fact that he was a criminally prosecuted homosexual, who had undergone both chemical castration and psychiatric treatment before he committed suicide.
During the Alan Turing Year celebrations in 2012 all these aspects are going to be scrutinized by the media as well as in academic circles and a Hollywood blockbuster biopic appears to be one possibility.
According to Nikki Finke, on her Deadline Hollywood site the script for The Imitation Game by first-time screenwriter Graham Moore and based in turn on the biography by Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: The Enigma was:
"snapped up by Warner Bros in a 7-figure deal. I’ve learned that the studio outbid half a dozen indie companies because Leonardo DiCaprio ”has the inside track” to play the lead and was chasing the project. But so far no talent is attached. I hear Ron Howard is interested in directing."
"The life story of this English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, computer scientist, criminally prosecuted homosexual, and tortured soul who committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple has it all."
The Imitation Game won't be the first dramatisation of Turing's life. Derek Jacobi played the role of Alan Turing in the play Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitmore, which was also based on Andrew Hodges book. Breaking the Code was first staged in 1986 in London and transferred to New York in 1987. Ten years later it was televised and is available on (VHS) and DVD.
Nor will the Warner Bros movie be the only new dramatisation . In the UK Channel 4 has also commissioned a new documentary with the working title The Hero of Station X . According to its press release
This drama documentary examines the life and legacy of Alan Turing, the brilliant British mathematician who, in World War Two, broke the Enigma code, saving countless lives; who invented the digital computer, pioneered artificial intelligence and was one of the first to discover morphogenesis, the mathematical basis of living things.
Other celebrations of this remarkable man that are planned for 2012 include conferences, lectures, exhibitions. See the Alan Turing Year website for links to events throughout the world.
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