The Imitation Game: 9 Behind-the-Scenes Facts About Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley

There have been so many WWII movies over the years that at this point they could be their own genre, with epic military dramas and dark, bloody action flicks. But the historical drama of 2014, The imitation gamefeaturing Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightleytook a different approach to the sprawling conflict with a more intimate, yet meaningful drama about a mathematician and his team who helped end the war hundreds of miles from the front line.

As part of our ongoing partnership with Plex, where you can watch The imitation game diffusion For free, we’ve scoured and found some of the most interesting behind-the-scenes facts about the making of the film that shed more light on Alan Turing’s brilliant life and tragic end.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Don't Look Up

(Image credit: Netflix)

The knockoff game was initially a Warner Bros. project. with Leonardo DiCaprio as Alan Turing

Following the release of The imitation game, Benedict Cumberbatch was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe and various other accolades for his portrayal of Alan Turing in his attempt to break German Enigma, but the film was originally set to have a very different actor in the role. main. In October 2011, Deadline revealed that Leonardo DiCaprio is in the running to play the tortured codebreaker.

At the time, Warner Bros. was in the running to release the film after buying screenwriter Graham Moore’s spec script as part of the seven-figure deal that would have seen Ron Howard in the director’s chair had it picked up steam. But as we all know by now, it wasn’t in the cards ’cause Cumberbatch would continue to play the tormented face.

The Imitation Game Cast

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

The Imitation Game producers wanted a British director but changed their tune after meeting Morten Tyldum

With The imitation game being a very British film (it’s set in England, features a predominantly British cast, and focuses on Britain’s plan to crack the German code), it’s understandable that the film’s producers wanted a British director to helm the project . In an interview surrounding the film’s release, producer Teddy Schwarzman said Collider that he and his co-producers said it would be appropriate to have a British director on board, but they were then approached by Norwegian filmmaker Morten Tyldum, who was serious about taking on the project.

Within days, producers watched Tyldum’s film Headhunters, met the director on Skype and offered him the job, which he accepted. Schwarzman said the team was so blown away by his vision and thoughts on the film (and Alan Turing) and decided to give it a shot.

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

Director Morten Tyldum and Benedict Cumberbatch had to find the voice and mannerisms of Alan Turing

Much of Alan Turing’s life has been made public (due to the nature of his work during the war) or left out of the history books, in part because he was ostracized for his homosexuality. That being said, the production team had to fill in the missing pieces themselves based solely on the historical character’s descriptions, and incidentally Morten Tyldum made it sound in a 2014 interview with NPRit was quite a process:

I set aside three weeks of rehearsal, which is becoming increasingly rare now to have that. And we were able to really explore those characters and really find the voice of Alan Turing and try to create him because there are no recordings of him. No one knows how he speaks. No one knows how he moves. There’s just, you know, just descriptions of him. So we had to sort of reconstruct it.

And all of Tyldum and star Benedict Cumberbatch’s hard work paid off, as Turing’s family praised the actor for his performance after it opened at the British Film Festival in 2014.

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

Benedict Cumberbatch channeled his own experiences as an ‘outsider’ while preparing for the role

Despite being a genius capable of achieving great things and taking pride in his work and intellect, Alan Turing was obviously a socially awkward person who struggled with personal relationships. In order to properly portray these aspects of Turing’s character in The imitation gameBenedict Cumberbatch turned to biographies and interviews with those who knew the man, but also from his own personal life.

In a 2014 interview on NPR Fresh AirCumberbatch explained that he came to terms with the character of Alan Turing after thinking back to his own “vague experiences of being an outsider” and instances of clumsiness throughout his life.

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

Benedict Cumberbatch dyed his hair and wore fake teeth to look more like Alan Turing

Benedict Cumberbatch’s research before filming began on The imitation game also included a lot of physical work to make him look and sound as much like Alan Turing as possible. By speaking with Behind the scenes magazine in 2014, Cumberbatch revealed he wore false teeth and changed his hair to look more like the man. In addition to this, Cumberbatch also started sitting like Turing to get a feel for his physique, a process which also included long-distance running due to Turing’s love of the marathon.

Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

Screenwriter Graham Moore channeled a letter from James Bond creator Ian Fleming to build the character of Alan Turing

It’s been said before, but much of what Alan Turing and his team accomplished in World War II has been kept secret over the years due to the nature of their work, and so screenwriter Graham Moore has been forced to get creative with construction. the story that unfolded The imitation game. One of the Oscar-winning writer’s most fascinating ways was reading a letter from Ian Fleming, the man who would write the James Bond novels that would one day become one of Bond’s biggest movie franchises. spying all the time. .

During a question-and-answer session (via Polygon) following a January 2015 screening of The imitation game, Moore revealed that while conducting research he found letters from Fleming (who was working with MI6 at the time) that showed a side of Turing he hadn’t seen in biographies. Basically, Fleming was writing fake spy stories to confuse the Germans, but Turing scoffed at the ideas and dismissed them for one reason or another. This letter and others like it helped Moore create a more three-dimensional character for the film.

The Imitation Game Cast

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The “Christopher” code-breaking machine was a near-replica of the original but with some additions

The “Christopher” code-breaking machine, named after Alan Turing’s best friend and lover for The imitation game, was a near-replica of the machine built by the real-life mathematician during World War II, but set designer Maria Djurkovic made some changes for the benefit of the audience. In a 2014 Wired breaking down the article, which was based on the ‘Bomb’ invention, it was revealed that Djurkovic and his team had made ‘Christopher’ open so the public could better see Turing’s creation. On top of that, the production team also installed massive red threads in order to make it look like blood running through its veins.

Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game.

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

Keira Knightley had been in love with Alan Turing for years before being offered a role in the bullying game

Whenever you discuss the best Keira Knightley movies, The imitation game is always one of the first to appear given its strong and poignant portrayal of Joan Clarke. But another reason could be how much Knightley was invested in Alan Turing’s story before the project was even announced, as she revealed to Collider:

I read an article about five years ago, and I went ‘How the hell don’t I know more about this person and why have I never heard of this before and why isn’t he a British hero and why isn’t he a complete gay icon? I think as soon as it happened I was like it was kind of a very important British person to say. I wanted to be part of it.

And Knightley’s obsession with the Turing story paid off as the actress was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe, among other accolades, for her performance.

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

Alan Turing’s suicide scene was filmed but was ultimately cut

The version of The imitation game which was shown in theaters alluded to the suicide of Alan Turing in 1954, but the actual act of self-poisoning and the aftermath was never shown. During an interview with The Hollywood ReporterBenedict Cumberbatch revealed that director Morten Tyldum shot a scene showing a policeman entering Turing’s house and discovering his body, the cyanide solution and the half-bitten apple, but everyone felt it was better to do so. leave on the editing room floor.

In the same interview, Cumberbatch revealed that he dropped a subtle hint at Turing’s fate in one of the film’s last scenes when he looked at the “Christopher” machine, smiled and said something to the effect of “I’m coming to see you now” .

Hopefully these behind-the-scenes facts about the making of The imitation game make you want to revisit the exciting and moving drama of the period. If you want to check it out for the first time in years, or the first time entirely, you can do it like The imitation game East stream for free on Plex.