FIRST LOOK: Benedict Cumberbatch As Persecuted Gay Hero Alan Turing

_TFJ0226.NEFCumberbitches are about to get a gay history lesson. Fans of the clear blue-eyed, sky high-cheekboned British thespian (and straight ally/gay wedding officiator) Benedict Cumberbatch are likely already aware of his upcoming film The Imitation Game, in which their fave actor stars as famed codebreaker and mathematician Alan Turing, who was notoriously prosecuted for being homosexual, castrated and eventually committed suicide. An official Twitter page set up for the movie posted the first photo from the production to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s six-decades-late royal pardon of the heroic Brit, widely considered the father of modern computing. Keira Knightley costars in the film, which is expected to be released sometime in 2014.

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  • Zodinsbrother

    It is worth repeating that Turing isn’t solely significant in his legend as the father of computing. He was also one of handful of people whose contribution was crucial to the Allied Victory in World War II. It it safe to say that without home, not only would be not likely be using our computers as we are to post and reply to this article but that perhaps hundreds of thousands more people would have died in the War.

  • Legacy

    We are delighted with the selection of the very talented Benedict Cumberbatch to portray Turing in what is surely to be an Oscar-worthy film. Alan Turing was the inspiration behind the “Legacy Walk” – the only outdoor LGBT historic museum walk in the world – which currently features 23 unique educational markers recognizing the contributions of LGBT people to world history and culture. (More are added every year.) Next time you are in Chicago please stop by to see Turing’s bronze memorial ( It is the only marker to honor him in the world that actually says he was gay and what happened to him because of it.

  • jmmartin

    Wha? There already has been a great biopic of Turing’s life, starring the inimitable Derek Jacobi as the code breaker (and, some say, inventor of the modern computer). I am not a fan of Cumberbatch at all. Jacobi was superb in the role. Why don’t they release that version in DVD?

  • charwegl

    While it’s true Turing was castrated, Queerty should acknowledge the type of castration and the effect it had on Turing’s life. (One of my recent grad school assignments was Turing’s effects on higher ed in England and I had to study his life extensively). Turing was chemically castrated, which wasn’t the removal of any genitalia but instead was injections to reduce libido. He ended up gaining a large amount of weight as well as breast as rare but very real side effects. I wonder if Cumberbatch’s role will delve into that part of his life, bc it put a significant strain on Turing’s life and at the time the same treatment was forced on dozens of other Englishmen.

  • charwegl

    @Legacy: That’s pretty cool. well done.

  • MikenStL

    @charwegl: It sounds like you are severely minimizing the violence that he was subjected to. Whether you chopped off his genitals or”just” blocked the effects of his production of testosterone, this is a life altering assault on what most people feel is a vital part of their livesand this was done because he was gay, not because he was an unreformable rapist or pedophile. Lack of testosterone causes all sorts of physical and mental issues, weight gain, loss of bone density and muscle mass, loss of libido, and depression to name just a few. The fact that he went on to commit suicide should not be overlooked and the chemical castration may have played a big part in that action. Currently millions of men are taking testosterone supplements because they have “low T” as the commercials for Androgel and others point out. Just because he has basically non-functioning testes hanging between his legs, does not make it less horrific…

  • Legacy

    @chareegl and @MikenStL: My understanding regarding the effects of the chemical castration is that the hormone imbalance created in his system began to effect Turing’s mental processes. In short he was no longer able to access his problem solving skills and was thus unable to BE Alan Turing. It drove him into a deep depression. Unable to function intellectually, he gave up on living. The cruelest fate imaginable for a genius…

  • Mr. E. Jones

    Oh good. Another straight man playing gay. How much will they de-gay Turning? Will they focus on his attempted straight female relationship, and ignore his homosexuality?

  • Legacy

    @Mr. E. Jones: The screenplay is written by openly screenwriter Graham Moore. Given his personal involvement with this project since Leonardo DeCaprio was attached to it, and Cumberbatch’s long-established support for LGBT people – it is highly unlikely “The Imitation Game” will make any attempt to skirt the central point of the story: Turing was convicted and driven to suicide for being gay.

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  • Ogre Magi

    another innocent victim of christianity

  • charwegl

    @MikenStL: You misunderstand me. I am in no way minimizing. As I stated, it is my hope that it will a part of the film. It’s something the English government (and many others) forced on homosexuals and was a large part of Turing’s life. In many ways, that type of castration was worse.

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