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Imitation Game director: A gay sex scene wouldn’t have enriched Turing’s character

Joseph McCormick February 23, 2015
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The director of ‘The Imitation Game’ is the latest to hit back at critics who have suggested that it downplayed Alan Turing’s sexuality.

Gay World War II codebreaker, Turing – often hailed as the grandfather of modern computing – was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ in 1952 after having sex with a man, and was chemically castrated, barred from working for GCHQ, and eventually driven to suicide.

Several people including Benedict Cumberbatch, who starred as Turing in the film, have defended the lack of a gay sex scene.

The film’s director Morten Tyldum is the latest to defend the lack of a gay sex scene, telling Variety magazine he thinks it wouldn’t have enriched the character.

Asked whether there was a version of the script where Turing had a male lover as an adult, Tyldum said: “First of all, the time period we’re all focusing on, he didn’t have one. He described it in his own words as a “sexual desert” in a letter. The whole thing is his relationship with Christopher [Turing’s male crush seen in flashbacks in grade school], about unfulfilled love.

“He had people he had sex with, yes — especially in the time after the war, when he’s living in Manchester. The break-in that happens in the film is a male lover, which is discussed. It was actually someone he paid to have sex with. It was more of a hustler.”

Continuing, to address whether or not such a scene would have “enriched” the character, the director said: “Not really. The whole movie, the way it’s structured, we don’t know anything about this man. The whole investigation starts because he’s hiding something, but he’s not hiding what we think.

“It can’t start off with him having sex. 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? I’m not shying away from it. His whole relationship, how he falls in love and the importance of him being a gay man, was all about secrecy.”

Cumberbatch attracted criticism after he defended the absence of gay sex in the film, saying: “If you need to see that to understand that he’s gay, then all is lost for any kind of subtle storytelling. It’s not something that needed to be made obvious.”

However, The Sunday Times reported that there was indeed a sex scene involving Turing and another man present in early drafts – but it was mysteriously left out of the final version.

Despite the controversy, and only having a limited release in the US, the film made the second highest per-screen profit of 2014.

Related topics: Alan Turing, Imitation Game, Oscar, Turing, US

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