Benedict Cumberbatch is about to have a banner year at the box office, with prominent villain roles in two huge genre releases. This summer he'll be portraying the as-yet-unnamed-but-probably-Khan enemy of James T. Kirk in J.J. Abrams's Star Trek Into Darkness, and then at Christmas you'll hear him voicing the dragon Smaug in the next chapter of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. Meanwhile, he's currently shooting a movie about Wikileaks honcho Julian Assange while we all await his return to the small screen in the BBC's stellar Sherlock series. He seems to be smartly bouncing between big budget stuff that keeps him on the radar of the masses and smaller, prestige pictures that are sure to put him in contention come future awards seasons.
In that vein he may be lining up his next gig starring as Alan Turing, unquestionably one of the most brilliant and unfairly persecuted thinkers of our time. Turing was not only a genius mathematician, he was also the preeminent code-breaker of the second World War. Most remember him as the man who deciphered the Nazi's Enigma code machine and then laid the groundwork for the computers of today. For a great (and tremendously dense) fictionalized take on the character, check out Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. But of course there's a darker side to the man's story; Turing was gay and after the war he was prosecuted for "indecency" and chemically castrated by the state, before eventually committing suicide, a fate that still claims far too many gay youth in this country.
The film is called The Imitation Game, which is a reference to the now famous Turing Test for distinguishing human intelligence from artificial intelligence. The script by Graham Moore is a holdover from the 2011 Black List which long had Leonardo DiCaprio attached. Kudos to director Morten Tyldum for going after an actual Brit!
I'm always excited about more Cumberbatch, who absolutely broke my heart in last year's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. This isn't a done deal yet, but here's hoping that they can lock Cumberbatch into the role before the surefire success of Star Trek sends his quote rocketing into the stratosphere.