Benedict Cumberbatch in talks to play father of computer science Alan Turing in The Imitation Game

The Sherlock star could portray the mathematician who cracked the Nazi’s “Enigma Code” but was later arrested for his homosexuality

Benedict Cumberbatch could be in line to play Alan Turing, known as the father of computer science and credited with cracking the Nazi’s “Enigma Code” during the Second World War.


Leonardo DiCaprio was rumoured to have been interested in the lead role in The Imitation Game when the script was first picked up by Warner Bros in 2011, but with independent production and finance company Black Bear having taken over, Cumberbatch is now “in deep conversations” to take on the part, reports Deadline.

Turing posited the hypothetical Turing Machine, seen by many as a precursor to the modern computer, and created the Turing Test, a method of determining whether a computer should be considered intelligent based on its ability to imitate human conversation.

Turing should have died a hero for his work at the famous Government Code and Cypher School in Bletchely Park during the war. But in 1952 he was arrested for homosexuality – then a criminal offence – and, after accepting “chemical castration” rather than imprisonment as a sentence, became depressed and is thought to have committed sucide two years later.

Should Cumberbatch land the role, Turing will become the latest in a series of real-life public figures he has portrayed. In 2004 he played Professor Stephen Hawking in BBC2 drama Hawking, and he is currently filming The Fifth Estate in which he stars as WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.


Best known to UK audiences as BBC1’s Sherlock, Cumberbatch will appear in cinemas in May as villain John Harrison in Star Trek sequel Into Darkness.