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An Open Letter from the Director of “The Imitation Game”

January 27, 2015

The device on which you’re reading this wouldn’t exist without Alan Turing.  He’s the primary character in The Imitation Game, a current-run film Patty and I saw recently.  It’s the true story of the British unraveling the Nazi’s code machine called Enigma.  Beneath that top layer of plot is another story the director references in this open letter —

The Imitation Game

by director Morten Tyldum

The producers of The Imitation Game first took notice of Alan Turing’s extraordinary story back in 2009. That fall, news broke that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was issuing a formal apology to Turing on behalf of the entire nation for his 1952 conviction of “gross indecency.” Just a few years later, Queen Elizabeth would follow suit with a royal pardon. Everyone, it seemed, was painfully sorry for persecuting a man who was both a genius and a war hero merely because he was homosexual.

When I was approached to direct the film, I was immediately blown away by the urgency we all felt to put Turing’s life on screen. With our screenwriter Graham Moore’s incredible script as our foundation, the right cast and crew, and an immense amount of hard work, we all knew we could have a truly special movie on our hands.

Paying homage to Mr. Turing was no small task, as we wanted to be sure we captured all of the love, loss, and triumph that made his story so remarkable. He achieved more in his short lifetime than most of us could ever dream of, and yet in many ways he’s still considered an unsung hero. He was a mathematical genius and is considered by the brightest minds in technology to be the father of the modern day computer. It was his unparalleled work that led to the cracking of the Nazi’s Enigma code, effectively helping to end WWII and save countless lives.

Alan Turing was also gay in a time when such a sexual orientation was considered criminal by his government. While his life ended tragically, his unbelievable accomplishments and bravery of thought were timeless. He dared to live and think differently. It’s our wish that this film serves as a glowing remembrance to him and his contributions to humanity.

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