By William Wolf


Star Benedict Cumberbatch and Norwegian director Morten Tyldum lauded Alan Turing, the hero of their film “The Imitation Game,” at a Toronto International Film Festival press conference held at festival headquarters, the TIFF center.

“If we do anything with this film, it is to bring Alan Turing to a broad audience and celebrate the way in which he ought to be remembered,” asserted Cumberbatch, who plays Turing, a mathematician credited with breaking the German Enigma codes in World War II.

Director Tyldum cited a smililar motive in tracing his interest in making the film. “I read the script,” he said, “and was completely blown away. I knew a little about the man [Turing} and became obsessed. I wanted to pay tribute to this unsung hero.”

As for the right casting, Tyldum said that from the start he told himself, “Benedict Cumberbatch has got to play this part.”

At the press conference Cumberbatch came across as a very handsome and personable actor, who is extremely articulate and well-spoken.

On the platform was also the skilled and attractive Keira Knightley, who plays Joan Clarke, the woman colleague with whom Turing becomes very close. She gives a luminous, very dramatic performance.

Expressing pleasure at having had the opportunity, Knightley asserted, “This was such a special project to be involved with.”

There was shared determination in trying to get the portrait of Turing right. As director Tyldum put it, “He was very uncompromising and true to himself. He didn’t treat himself as a victim.”

Cumberbatch added that Turing has a special reputation for a lot of people, but they don’t know much about him.

Turing was said by Winston Churchill to have made an enormous contribution to the war effort by enabling many battle victories as a result of having cracked the German codes. Persecuted after the war for his homosexuality, illegal in England at the time, Turing avoided prison by accepting a judge’s order to take a chemical castration drug. Turing tragically committed suicide in 1954 at the age of 41. He was pardoned by Queen Elizabeth last December.

Also participating in the press conference was actor Matthew Goode, who plays a key colleague of Turing’s. The TIFF moderator was Eric Kohanik.

The Weinstein Company is distributing “The Imitation Game,” with an initial release scheduled in the United States for November 21, 2014. Posted September 25, 2014.


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