From Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg, we’ve seen our share of Silicon Valley biopics. Now Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician who arguably paved the way for modern tech titans, gets his moment of prestige-pic glory. The Imitation Game is partly set during WWII as Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his team of proto-hackers race to break the Nazis’ Enigma code. But it also traces Turing’s repressed boarding-school years as well as his final days in the 1950s facing prosecution for homosexuality. ”I don’t like period films, so I’m very surprised I ended up doing a British period movie,” says Norwegian director Morten Tyldum, best known for the 2011 Jo Nesb? adaptation Headhunters. ”As soon as I started reading about Alan Turing, I got obsessed.”
Cumberbatch also became fixated on Turing. The Sherlock star replicated the math whiz’s stutter, attempted to learn how the elaborate code-breaking machine worked — ”I tried my hardest, but it’s friggin’ hard,” he says — and even began running like Turing, a world-class marathoner. ”Running in period shoes!” he exclaims. ”That’s the only thing I had actor grumbles about.” Arch support may have been a tougher puzzle to solve than Enigma.