Over the weekend Benedict Cumberbatch sat down with film professor and producer Annette Insdorf to discuss The Imitation Game, in which he plays Alan Turing, the brilliant cryptanalyst who cracked the Nazi code to aid the Allied powers win World War II. Turing was also a gay man, and when the government found out, he was subjected to chemical castration for two years before committing suicide.
During the audience Q&A, Cumberbatch says that he had in fact filmed that scene, but recalled that remembered that it “didn’t feel right.” Instead, the film ends on a more optimistic, slightly more ambiguous note:
Someone telling him something he never had told to him in his life: that he did matter — the fact that he was regarded as different and not normal was hugely important to the world and to everybody around him. No one had told him that in his life. So to end it on that note, with someone explaining, was our way of thanking him in the structure of the film, our eulogy to him.
As Cumberbatch continues his press tour, he expresses his bewilderment about why Alan Turing hasn’t been canonized into history: “Why on earth doesn’t everybody know this story? Why don’t people know about this man? Why is he not on the cover of textbooks, not just science books, but history books?”
You can watch the entire conversation, which dips into how Cumberbatch researched Alan Turing, what he thinks about British politicians who voted against a pardon of Turing, and playing Stephen Hawking before Eddie Redmayne.
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As for the ending, what do you make of this decision? Do you think it glosses over the brutal experience gay men had to endure?