Should-be WWII legend Alan Turing’s memory was at last spotlit Wednesday night, spelling out the start of the BFI London Film Fest with “The Imitation Game” opener.
The wind and rain joined celebrations in Leicester Square, leaving the code-breaking cerebral stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley just slightly soggy. Of course, in bold Blitz style, spirits could not be dampened. Helmer Morten Tyldum enlightened the gathered crowds on Turing. “He’s such an unsung hero. I wanted to make a tribute to outsiders, to those who dare to be different. It was about time somebody told this story about Alan Turing.”
Galled over Britain’s previously unjust conduct, Cumberbatch speculated why the story was so long untold: “The dark stain of how this country treated him — a country that was helped to be liberated from the Nazi threat by his work, then turned on him and prosecuted for his sexuality. It’s a sickening irony of his heroism, that it was rewarded in such a manner.”
“I could go on for hours about him. I care deeply about the man,” he said.
As technical issues ensued with the cold and wet — autographing pens defunct and selfies redundant from wet, shaky hands — Cumberbatch graciously thanked all fans for sticking out the weather, as Team Turing stepped inside to dry off for the film’s London outing. Among other attendees: Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, producers Teddy Schwartzman, Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky.