Oscars 2015: The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum defends lack of gay storyline in Alan Turing biopic

The film focuses on his relationship and brief engagement to fellow code-breaker Joan Clarke

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The Independent Culture

The director of the Oscar-nominated The Imitation Game has defended the lack of gay storyline in the Alan Turing biopic, saying that it would not have enriched the film.

The film about the famous British cryptographer, who cracked the Enigma Code and helped to end the Second World War, only briefly touches upon Turing’s homosexuality and flashbacks to a male crush he had at school.

Turing is played by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch and the focus is on his relationship and brief engagement to fellow code-breaker Joan Clarke, portrayed by Keira Knightley in the film. Both stars have been received Oscar nods for their roles in the film, along with a nomination for director Morten Tyldum.


When asked whether featuring this element in the film would have enriched it, Tyldum said, "Not really. The whole movie, the way it’s structured, we don’t know anything about this man."

 “It was not because we were afraid it would offend anybody. If I did the structure and had this thing about a straight character, I would never have a sex scene to prove that he’s heterosexual. If I have a gay character in a movie, I need to have a sex scene in it – just to prove that he’s gay?” he told Variety in a recent interview.

The code-breaker prosecuted for gross indecency in 1952 with a 19-year-old man and chemically castrated as part of his sentence, two years later he died after apparently committing suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide.

Turing was posthumously given a royal pardon in 2013 and since then there has been a campaign to pardon around 49,000 men who were also prosecuted for being homosexual.

While The Imitation Game may lack scenes relating to Turing's homosexuality, the film's critical acclaim and success may have helped the campaign.

A petition, which has been backed by Cumberbatch, has been signed by 460,000 people and Turing’s family will be delivering it to Downing Street tomorrow.