One of this year’s most anticipated films, the historical drama about British wartime cryptographer Alan Turing, The Imitation Game, sparked a bidding war for U.S. distribution rights that saw the Weinstein Co. fork out a record sum. Footage from the film was screened at the European Film Market last Friday, and Harvey Weinstein bid $7,000,000 to secure the U.S. rights.
“Teddy Schwarzman and Morten Tyldum took a script that Bob and I loved but were worried about its tone because if you got it wrong one inch to the left or one inch to the right, you would have major problems,” Weinstein told Deadline. “These guys got it so perfect, they did a better job than I ever could have. Benedict is unbelievable, and this is going to be a big year for Keira. Between this and Can A Song Save Your Life? she is going to be a major star. We look at this as a major release and we’re thrilled to have it.”
Alan Turing was a British mathematician, logician and cryptanalyst, inventor of the Turing Machine and a key figure in cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code during World War II. He was later criminally prosecuted for his homosexuality. After many years of public protest, on the 24 December 2013 Queen Elizabeth II signed a pardon for Turing’s conviction for gross indecency, with immediate effect.
The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing and Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke, Turing’s close friend and one-time fiancee. The supporting cast features some of our favourite British actors including Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance, Rory Kinnear, Mark Strong, Matthew Goode and Downton Abbey’s Allen Leech. The film is set for release later this year.