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Comment: Hollywood should stay true to the real story of Alan Turing

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  1. Andrew Maund 31 Jul 2013, 2:25pm

    I agree with you completely. Perhaps the silver lining will be that it will raise the profile of Alan Turing and people will find out the truth for themselves?

    I can also see how a Biopic about Alan Turing may help with efforts to include him into the national curriculum.

    Still, ‘creative liberties’ is not something I feel Hollywood has the right to do, but that’s just my personal view. It just seems in bad taste.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 31 Jul 2013, 2:42pm

      Hollywood can’t face facts or reality, especially when it comes to gay characters. There is still an undercurrent of homophobia going on in their studio system because they only believe in the bottom line, making money. Substance, quality, historical accuracy and more importantly truth don’t count for much. A British studio would do a far better job of it.

      1. Andrew Maund 31 Jul 2013, 6:38pm

        Hollywood is very commercial. They probably care more about making a film that the ‘widest possible audience’ (otherwise known as the lowest common denominator…) would enjoy. Don’t forget America is much more aggressively capitalist and it often comes down to profits and money. I think you are right a British studio would feel that influence a little less.

        I’m curious as to why we never made a film ourselves and needed Hollywood to do it for us, unless I’m ignorant of some details, which I probably am unfortunately :)

        1. Cardinal Hmmm 31 Jul 2013, 7:34pm

          We did, a play and tv show called “Breaking the Code” starring Derek Jacobi.

  2. Hear, hear!

  3. Roland Chesters 31 Jul 2013, 2:35pm

    Why is Hollywood making the film at all it has to “sanitise” the story? It’s a film about a British genius, who happened to be gay and suffered for that. The role is played by a British actor. Why is the film not being made in the UK? At least here, I hope, the storyline would be authentic. Are American audiences so squeamish? They love a great blockbuster full of violence and gore but cannot stomach a real life portrayal of a man betrayed by his country because of his sexuality? Guess that says an awful lot about Americans….

    1. Here’s one American who can stomach the truth. With all due respect, your vast generalisation of a country is just as harmful as an inaccurate portrayal of an historical figure bled out to the masses. But what do I know? I don’t go to movies.

    2. Here’s one American who can stomach the truth. With all due respect, your vast generalisation of a country is just as harmful as an inaccurate portrayal of an historical figure bled out to the masses. But what do I know? I don’t go to the movies.

  4. Hollywood changing stories to suit their own agenda? Surely not. Never happened before:
    Straight trenches and a myriad of other basic errors in War Horse.
    The film ‘Enigma’ which showed the USA capturing an Enigma machine, when in fact it was the Brits.
    Saving Private Ryan – spot the British involvement in the D-Day landings.
    etc. etc. etc. blah, blah, blah.
    If you want something better then I suggest Breaking the Code starring Derek Jacobi. Covers everything one needs to know about Mr Turing.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 31 Jul 2013, 3:21pm

      And all WW2 films coming out of Hollywood always claim that America won the war and saved Europe’s and the world’s arse. Beyond stretching it a bit too.

  5. Robert in S. Kensington 31 Jul 2013, 2:38pm

    I believe this is being made in America isn’t it? I can’t believe there aren’t enough talented film makers in the UK to make a true adaptation of Alan’s life. The problem with Hollywood is that it’s geared more toward making a tidy profit over and above quality, content, truth and facts and appeasing the sensibilities of an overwhelmingly straight audience.

    Joan Clarke wasn’t a particularly attractive woman but that’s Hollywood for you, always about glamour and good looks, nothing real. Of course, Alan will be played by a straight actor.

  6. Its the right wing. Be gay but don’t be a limo wristed queer. Do triathlons, grow a beard, smoke cigars but no flower arranging. Considering how many gay people are in Hollywood it must be the most depressing place on earth

    1. I would hardly call anyone a wimp who used to often run the 40 miles between Bletchley and London for an appointment. He was an accomplished long distance and marathon runner.
      The “artistic liscense” by this film is a travesty of Alan Turings’ life and achievements and the persecution he had to endure for his sexuality.
      There is no excuse for this attempt at rewriting the personal history of a scientific genius.
      The producers of this film should be ashamed.

      1. Not a reply to you James, sorry should be below!

    2. David Myers 1 Aug 2013, 1:34am

      “Limo wristed queer! What a hilarious and incomprehensible typo!

  7. LeatherNun 31 Jul 2013, 2:44pm

    Alan Turing’s great passion clearly wasn’t sex or running it was science and mathematics, his intellectual life, but it’s very difficult to make computable numbers, self organizing chemical reactions and early electronic computers into an effective drama. Sexed-up or not, any film about Turing that did not but this at its centre would be in some sense a lie.

    Does anyone else remember a BBC play about Alan Turing with Derek Jacobi as the lead called Breaking the Code ? It’s available you know where.

  8. I have nothing against a straight actor playing a gay character or vice versa – they are actors playing a role after all. I think Benedict Cumberbatch is a fine actor (love Sherlock), but a better choice might have been Alan Cummings. And Benny has been in a lot of stuff lately.
    It is sad and insulting that Hollywood feels the need to “straightwash” films in thinking it would be more palatable to American audiences. Look at “A Beautiful Mind” – they straightwashed that story too.
    Hey Hollywood!! Middle American can deal with gay characters – it’s the wacko fringe that puts up a stink about it – and they already think you’re just the new Sodom and Gomorrah, so why bother appeasing them?

  9. Boycott

    I don’t see a huge demand for this film and even less so if the LGBT community take a stand and boycott it.
    It’s grossly typical and disrespectful of Alan Turing for Hollywood to portray him as a straight man “turned”

    1. David Myers 1 Aug 2013, 1:38am

      This film, if it goes ahead as described now, should be boycotted by GLBTQ people and their straight allies, combined with a powerful public campaign and demand for a historically accurate film portrayal of Alan Turing’s life!

  10. He didn’t break the Enigma code – he helped develop a machine that accelerated how their messages could be read.
    Sorry to bore you with facts…

    1. Steven Chambers 31 Jul 2013, 4:11pm

      “fagburn??” Really? Are you a member of the Westboro Baptist Church?

    2. You are grossly understating Turing’s importance here in the decoding of German naval messages during WWII. The messages were unreadable without the use of new machines to test tens of thousands of configurations, so there was nothing to accelerate. Turing himself led the team which worked on decoding the Enigma, and his were the brains behind the development of the “bombes” and their continued upgrading to deal with various enhancements to the Enigma encoding during the war years.

  11. bearshaped 31 Jul 2013, 2:57pm

    Prof Jack Copeland has questioned the coroner’s verdict, suggesting the accidental inhalation of cyanide fumes from an apparatus for gold electroplating spoons, using potassium cyanide to dissolve the gold, which Turing had set up in a spare room. Autopsy findings were consistent with inhalation of the poison. Also Turing habitually ate an apple before bed, it was not unusual for it to be discarded half-eaten. Turing had borne his hormone treatment (discontinued a year previously) “with good humour” and had shown no sign of despondency, in fact, setting down a list of tasks he intended to complete upon return to his office after the holiday weekend. At the time, Turing’s mother, and friends, believed that the ingestion was accidental.
    1950’s zeitgeist would suggest that homosexuals were so tragic that the only possible cause of death would be suicide. A coroner today would probably conclude a finding of accidental death.

    1. Julia M. Turing 12 Aug 2013, 11:43pm

      Over a cup of undigested concentrated KCN was found in Alan’s stomach and digestive tract as well as throughout his circulatory system, pointing to drinking a solution of KCN which Alan kept in pure crystalline form in a bottle in his top drawer in his back bedroom(see autopsy report). The apple was never tested so we will never know if a few bites out of an apple cut in half would have been enough to have the high amounts of KCN found in his stomach and throughout his body that killed him. Alan’s preparing his will just a few months earlier, a shocking revelation by a fortune teller and finally a very difficult event with the neighbors was too much for him to bear, not to mention all the other terrible events he had to endure for the last two years of his life. I would rather prefer that Alan’s death was accidental but too much evidence points to suicide I’m sorry to say.

    2. James Campbell 24 Dec 2013, 10:34pm

      I am not in position to prove or disprove the claim that Turing committed suicide. What does concern me (as a doctor) is the flippant comment that he bore his ‘chemical castration’ with “good humour”. Research studies indicate that chemical castration is associated with increased depression and anxiety, reduced cognitive performance, most noticeably of verbal memory. Turing was a perfectionist and any sense that he was experiencing problems that affected his work and the very abilities that marked him out as exceptional would have had a marked effect on his mental state. Add to this, the public disapproval heaped upon him (by lesser men), far from being ‘good humoured’ one can only speculate as to how negatively this affected him.

  12. How stupid it is. Alan and Joan are no more than common friends.Well, a lot of gay people do seek protection in heterosexual marriage and usually end up in failure or tragedy, fortunately the protagonist stopped in time to avoid more trouble. This should be the plot and lesson, rather than a “romantic” or even “heartbreaking” love story out of thin air.

    When it comes to love story, I believe that Turing actually had one of the -most moving-and saddest-ones, which has touched so many people. It is frightening to see the Hollywood gives it up for a fake one.

    1. Julia M. Turing 12 Aug 2013, 11:47pm

      I agree with you wholeheartedly! nicely said!!

    2. Julia M. Turing 12 Aug 2013, 11:56pm

      I wholeheartedly agree! nicely said thank you!!

  13. Godric Godricson 31 Jul 2013, 3:09pm

    I am so d epressed after reading this story. American film making seems to be a “one size fits all” mentality. No chance for diversity then?

  14. GingerlyColors 31 Jul 2013, 3:16pm

    If the Alan Turing movie is going to be made in America will the Americans try and claim some of the credit for cracking the Enigma Code as they have done in the past?

  15. Here, here indeed … i’ll second that.

  16. Andrew Brettell 31 Jul 2013, 3:56pm

    I don’t do Twitter and the like very much, but hope that there will be a big campaign to protest and make it clear that we will boycott this film.

  17. Steven Chambers 31 Jul 2013, 4:05pm

    PINK NEWS — please post information for us to contact the producers of the film to protest this atrocity. I have no doubt that Mr. Cumberbatch would have no difficulty or issue with portraying the character of Turing in truth, rather than forcing falsehood down the throats of the public. I look forward to an update.

  18. Nothing the idiots in Hollyweed could do would surprise me at this point. I mean they made Davinci straight for the current TV series! And all this despite the fact that 98% of the ‘talent’ in Hollyweed is either gay or bi! Anyway, the Brits got it right with the Derek Jacobi version of the story.

    1. Jan Bridget 31 Jul 2013, 5:22pm

      Breaking the Code film (which I have) was excellent, as was the stage play which I once saw in Chester.

  19. Aharon Ben Yossef 31 Jul 2013, 4:30pm

    That’s Hollywood for you – every time !!

  20. Well well well, the Ministry of Truth is at it again! Anyone who’s seen the Celluloid Closet will appreciate how damaging Hollywood has been to the struggle of equality by cleansing history of our existance in real life, and distorting our existance in fiction.

    I hate you Hollywood. Stop trying to fit people to your impossible John Wayne mould of what it means to be a man and distorting the truth with your propaganda war films.

    Mr. Pink

  21. GhostofTuring 31 Jul 2013, 5:29pm

    Is Anyone Surprised? Hollywood is bilge. B-i-l-g-e, which makes me faint in astonishment on how queers fall for these horrible people, “stars” and worship the ground the whole lie factory walks on.

    They tortured Turing in life, and they can’t even do him the justice of a fatual biography. All these ‘artists’ and ‘editors’ who take the lives and the work of the real creatives and bastardize it into udeless sugar-sap for idiots. Scum, the lot of them.

  22. Cary Portway 31 Jul 2013, 6:10pm

    Really well written and compelling article. I hope it has been forwarded to the filmmakers, and Ben Cumberbatch, too. He holds some sway.

  23. Really well written and compelling article! I hope it has been forwarded to the filmmakers, and Ben Cumberbatch, too. He holds some sway.

  24. James Savik 31 Jul 2013, 7:51pm

    Hollyweird never met a script yet that they couldn’t completely butcher.

  25. Seb Wayneflete 31 Jul 2013, 7:51pm

    If the film is made and it so distorts Turing’s story it should be met by massive protest – and the makers should be made aware NOW that it will be.

    1. David Myers 1 Aug 2013, 1:43am

      Someone, in England, start an international petition that citizens of any country can sign, directed at the producers of this movie. Give them a chance to back down or face a huge public relations nightmare and boycott.

  26. Hollywood did the same thing with The Martian Child, a fact-based novelette about a gay man adopting a boy. That he was gay was an integral part of the story, since the man didn’t want to hide that from the boy and felt that the boy needed to be OK with that fact. In the movie, the man became a lonely straight widower, and the usual nonsense was spouted about “poetic license.” I refused to see the movie.

  27. I’ll be sooo mad if they do show him as straight and not a gay man… he’s possibly one of our most iconic and worthy heroes of the 20th century.

  28. Michael Igoe 31 Jul 2013, 11:07pm

    There was an earlier film some years ago on Enigma (the title too, I think). Talk about Hamlet without the prince! I don’t think Turing was even mentioned, There was, of course, a nice, conventional romance between heterosexual cryptographers.

  29. The producers said that wasn’t true when this was published in some tabloids some time ago.
    Are they telling the true? I don’t know but again I read an early draft of the script and Turing was gay in it.
    Black Bear Pictures is the production company and you can contact them here If you read some old tweets you’ll see they were answering some people about this. Maybe is better if we talk with them before planning boycotts.

  30. Gayle Jenkinson 1 Aug 2013, 2:07am

    It is the same sort of “unacknowledged” homophobia, that still insists on having many lgbti people and characters played by openly perverted heterosexuals, for artistic reasons. This make me angry and frustrated.

  31. Isa Kocher 1 Aug 2013, 5:39am

    it is an insult to turing and to all great heroes that they think he can be heterosexified. it denies everything about him that makes him who he is and why.

  32. Barrybear1980 1 Aug 2013, 7:07am

    Any biopic should stay true to the subject matter. Either keep it real and true to life or don’t make it at all.

    Maybe it is time to show how this heat man was thanked by his country for the advanced he made in technology.

    Our world today would be a very different place without him.

  33. Write to Mr Cumberbatch?
    c/o Conway Van Gelder Grant, 3rd Floor, 8-12 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 8HW

  34. I have a film project from 2006 which was stolen and then Heterosexualised. I don’t care about the plagiarism but the issue that gay doesn’t pay because you can’t get as many ‘bums on seats’ does.

  35. ….yes, I find Hollywood really bizarre, even fascist. They’ll tell you in defense they must protect their money interests. But people are so strange, hypocritical! Americans seem so anti-gay and Hollywood is fed by the public..totally…

  36. As producer of the film, I’m saddened there was no independent reporting for this article. We are not depicting Alan Turing as heterosexual, and for obvious reasons are focusing on Turing’s homosexuality, prosecution, chemical castration, and demise. It’s a shame one inaccurate past article led to continued falsities for readers. We are honoured by the great responsibility of telling Turing’s life story. We will do it justice.

    1. Paul Essex/London 4 Aug 2013, 9:42pm

      Well if you are who you say you are then I take back the comment I’ve just posted and will reserve judgment until I’ve seen the finished article for myself. However, given Hollywood’s track record on stuff like this are you really surprised that no-one has any problem in believing that the file will bare little resemblance on the true story but pander to whatever the Midwest will swallow?

    2. Thank you for coming forward, Mr. Schwarzman, and thank you for sticking to the ‘straight’ truth about Mr. Turing’s sexual orientation. Portraying his true sexual orientation will honor his memory and serve as a reference for future LGBT history documentation. Now, can you remake ‘A Beautiful Mind’ without Russell Crowe and revealing the truth about the sexual orientation of John Nash? (I know I’m gonna get flack about this, but the ‘straightwashing’ of his sexual orientation in that movie pissed me off to no end.)

    3. Ar U Gaetu 6 Aug 2013, 2:57pm

      This is going to be a very difficult biopic to make if you are not accurate with every mention and/or display of the mathematics, electronics, logic, codes, medicine then and now (I seriously doubt he committed suicide – that was the popular “honorable” way for a hero-turned-monster to die back then). Don’t relying on just one “consultant” for each field. I’ll walk out of the movie in a heartbeat if binary numbers aren’t subtracted properly, the wrong vacuum tubes (type and age) are being used, or he is portrayed as a watered-down bisexual rather than a socially wronged gay man.

      Definitely film it in the UK with British actors. To the rest of the planet, an American trying to do a British accent sounds like a South Carolinian with a cock in his mouth.

      One single error could be the film’s Hollywood mudslide, because if you cheapen ANY portion of it, opting to take shortcuts for money or to target your 14 year old boy demographic, it places everything else into serious doubt.

  37. By “Creative liberties” I suspect they really mean “Botch it up!” There is only one country capable of making a true loyal biographic portrayal of Alan Turing… and that is Britain.

    If they can’t even make a decent version of Priscilla Queen of the Desert or La Cage Au Folle, heaven knows what they would do with a dramatic time capsule of history that wasn’t American!

  38. Paul Essex/London 4 Aug 2013, 9:37pm

    Airbrushing gay men and women who are and always have been in all walks of life out of existence, yet again. Ensuring another generation of gay kids grow up feeling isolated and that they are ‘the only gay in the village’ so they can run away to places like Hollywood and participate in repeating the same vicious circle. People of Hollywood, It’s 2013! There’s no point complaining about Prop 8 et al whilst you carry on refusing to do anything actually remotely brave! All you’re doing is keeping yourself in a rich ghetto, oh who am I kidding, that suits you lot just fine doesn’t.

  39. Daniel Arthur Gallagher 9 Aug 2013, 2:25pm

    100% agree with a faithful biopic.

    Also 100% disagree with a pardon. It changes nothing yet allows people to get over the guilt of condemning a man for his sexuality. Also sick of it always being about Turing when it comes to pardons! No one seems interested in the justice, the message I get every time is “Well being gay was bad but it’s okay, we can pardon Turing but not the other tens of thousands because he made up for being gay.”.

  40. Julia M. Turing 13 Aug 2013, 12:20am

    Black bear pictures is claiming to portray Alan Turing accurately and not straight with juicy romantic scenes with Clark. The story of Alan Turing is so incredible! all that he did in his short life cut short so tragically, that there is plenty of materiel to create an inspiring movie for the world to see that would do Alan’s story justice. There is no need for adding things to his story that are not true. I hope they make a ‘true story’ movie about Alan Turing.

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