Benedict Cumberbatch is reportedly in talks to play Alan Turing, in an upcoming biopic about the gay mathematician and codebreaker.

Reports suggested that the Sherlock star is “in deep conversations but hasn’t yet signed a deal,” to play Turing in the biopic, which has the working title The Imitation Game.

The gay mathematical genius and codebreaker was the effective inventor of the modern computer and a key driver behind the victory over the Nazis.

He killed himself in 1952, two years after being sentenced to chemical castration after being prosecuted for being gay.

Warner Bros bought the film for seven-figure sum in autumn 2011, but it changed hands after Leonardo DiCaprio, who had been rumoured to star as the codebreaker was reported to no longer be on the project.

Last August, it was reported that Warner Bros had abandoned pre-production on the biopic, but the screenplay by Graham Moore found a new home at Teddy Schwarzman’s Black Bear Pictures, and reports suggest that it may go ahead, Deadline reports.

Turing’s story has never officially been told on the big screen. Enigma, a big-budget production released in 2001, told the story of British cryptographers at Bletchley Park with Dougray Scott playing a (heterosexual) character otherwise clearly based on Turing.

On the small screen, in 1996, Derek Jacobi played Turing in Breaking the Code. In November 2011, Channel 4 broadcast a docu-drama about Turing. Codebreaker starred Ed Stoppard.

The star of BBC’s Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, admitted in an interview with MTV News that he is aware of some gay fan-fiction, and that he finds some of it quite flattering.

The relationship between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson has long been the subject of homoerotic theories, something to which the actors have alluded, though they downplayed any sexual element in the relationship.

Benedict Cumberbatch was set to depict Brian Epstein, famously dubbed “the fifth Beatle” by Sir Paul McCartney, in a new film, according to reports last year. 

In December, the scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking, and the broadcaster, Lord Michael Grade, joined other distinguished scientists and peers to call on the Government to pardon Alan Turing.

Following questions from PinkNews.co.uk readers in 2010, David Cameron promised a Conservative Government would to disregard the criminal records of those convicted of historic gay sex offences. The measure was passed into law in October. However, as those with such criminal records must apply to have their records cleared, it did not apply to Turing’s conviction.

In 2009, after a campaign led by Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry and Peter Tatchell and supported by PinkNews.co.uk, the then prime minister Gordon Brown issue an apology for Turing’s treatment on behalf of the British government.