imitation_game

That image above is Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role of The Imitation Game, in which he plays mathematician Alan Turing. The film is based on a Black List script by Graham Moore, directed by Morten Tyldum, and evidently Harvey Weinstein sees it as a primo Oscar contender to open later this year. The indie mogul just paid $7m for distribution rights at the Euopean Film Market going on as part of the Berlin Film Festival. That, says Deadline, is the most ever paid for an American production at the market there. Read More »

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It’s been a lot of fun watching the rise of Benedict Cumberbatch over the past couple years. The great BBC version of Sherlock propelled him to the top of some casting lists, and he quickly went from supporting roles in Four Lions, War Horse and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy to being the lead villain in Star Trek Into Darkness, and playing both the Necromancer and the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit. He’s shooting the Wikileaks movie The Fifth Estate right now, and today a new role has cropped up for the actor.

Cumberbatch is in talks to play Alan Turing, the legendary father of computing and artificial intelligence, in the film The Imitation Game. Originally set up at Warner Bros. with Leonardo DiCaprio as a likely star, the film moved to Black Bear Pictures. Headhunters director Morten Tyldum will direct the picture. Read More »

The last time we wrote about a possible film version of Erik Larson‘s book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, Leonardo DiCaprio‘s company had just optioned the book and attached the actor to star. He hadn’t yet shot J. Edgar, which has already come and gone, and he wasn’t yet set for The Great Gatsby, which has wrapped principal photography.

Perhaps most crucially, he also hadn’t been signed to play the bad guy in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. DiCaprio hasn’t played a villain yet, so seeing him attached to The Devil in the White City was a big deal, because he was, and still is, set to play a serial killer that haunts the creation of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. We haven’t heard much about the film version of the story in the past year, but Warner Bros. is still working to make it a reality, and has just hired Graham Moore to script. Read More »

Each December since 2004, studio executive Franklin Leonard has compiled the best unproduced screenplays of the year, as voted by hundreds of execs, agency guys, and high-level assistants. Titled The Black List, the compendium highlights both established screenwriters and up-and-comers, and has served as a launching pad in the past for projects like Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, and (500) Days of Summer. Last year’s list included Margin Call, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Hunger Games, and Snow White and the Huntsman.

It should be noted that the headline is somewhat misleading — some of these screenplays have already been acquired and are already in development, though according to Leonard none will have entered principal photography by December 31, 2011. Also worth pointing out is that, as in previous years, there have been rumors that some of the participants have been accused of using the Black List to promote their own clients or friends. Finally, as Leonard reminds us each time, “The Black List is not a ‘best of’ list. It is, at best, a ‘most liked’ list.”

Regardless, we can always rely on the Black List to stir up conversation among both industry insiders and outside spectators alike, so without further ado, hit the jump for the complete 2011 list.

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Leonardo DiCaprio‘s J. Edgar has yet to hit theaters, but the star may already be looking at his next biopic. Warner Bros. has picked up first-time screenwriter Graham Moore‘s spec script The Imitation Game, about the life and times of math genius Alan Turing, for a seven-figure sum today, outbidding several other indie companies.

Although no stars or directors are actually attached at this time, the company is said to have picked up the script because DiCaprio is eyeing the lead role. (WB also recently bought rights to the novel Satori as a possible DiCaprio film.) Ron Howard, whose last foray into truth-based dramas about brilliant but tortured mathematicians won him Best Picture and Best Director, is reportedly interested in directing. More details after the jump.

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