wonderlandinmymind

He had a unique and driven and asymmetrical personality – he was very high-functioning, he had great empathy levels and was especially caring and had a great affinity with children. He had this unfettered ability to communicate with people and not feel that he was constrained by the usual platitudes, the status quo interaction demanded of a man who was so focused and slightly shy. He was seen as an odd fish, “an odd duck” as his mum called it. He was so capable, so fast-thinking, and so healthy. He was a very physical man – he ran marathons to near-Olympic standard and competed in cross-country events. He would run from his house in Wilmslow to work at Manchester University, a 20 kilometer round trip. I talked to people who had known him during his Manchester days and they all said how extraordinarily kind he was, polite and diffident. He didn’t often make direct eye contact, but when he did, you felt bathed in a very humane, intrigued, witty and rather lovely personality. He was very focused and often deemed to be in his own world, in his own line of thinking, in his own thought pattern and he would do some very eccentric things, but he was very open about them. He was a remarkable human being, a very kind soul, a very benign, slightly gauche, but a very doggedly determined, single-minded human being of extraordinary talent and ability. The tragedy of his life is not only that it ended so early, but that he was persecuted in a time of intolerance for his sexuality — Benedict Cumberbatch on Alan Turing. (x)

cumberbatchweb
cumberbatchweb:

Our correspondent Gabrielle is at the Toronto Film Festival and has provided a first look review of The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch:
by Gabrielle Gozo
After watching “The Imitation Game”, director Morten Tyldum’s English-language debut, I was initially left speechless. Then suddenly, like the rest of the Press and Industry delegates in the theatre, I had so much to say.
The film blends a story together in three eras: Alan Turing’s childhood in the 1920s, his work to break the Enigma code in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and the investigation of his personal life in the early 1950s. Woven in with serious scenes depicting the frustration of the code breakers in Bletchley Park and newsreel footage of the war, is a sense of humor that lightens the mood of the film, just when it needs to be lightened.
As Turing, Benedict Cumberbatch portrays a man who is described by history as shy, yet outspoken. Those who are already fans of Cumberbatch’s dextrous ability to transform completely into his character will be unsurprised. Using the spectacularly-crafted script to his advantage, he captivates perfectly Turing’s personal and professional trials. And typical of Cumberbatch, there is no holding back. You can quite literally see him quivering with emotion at pivotal moments, embodying Turing entirely. I suspect that some might compare his Turing to his Sherlock Holmes, as both characters seem to have sharp-tongued quips. But one must think far beyond that; they are simply two men who have different ways of portraying the same thing: that brilliance can be quite off-putting to the ordinary person.
As an artist myself I feel compelled to note that this role is only the latest example of Cumberbatch being everything an artist should be: utterly devoted and offering a wealth of creativity to be consumed by the audience.
Keira Knightly’s role as Joan Clarke isn’t to be overlooked. When her character appears, there is an immediate display of sexism toward her, telling us instantly where a woman like her stood in the world—her intelligence made no never mind. Her strength and awareness of her position (the line “I’m a woman in a man’s job and I don’t have the luxury of being an ass” stands out) relieved me. It was great to remember that this was a real woman, “playing” (such as it’s termed by Stewart Menzies, played by the brilliant Mark Strong) with the big boys and more than just holding her own.
And a note on the fears of straight washing that some have expressed: never is Turing portrayed as any other sexual orientation than he was. Nor did I get the feeling that the director and writers shied away from showing any intimacy between Turing and another man on screen. In fact, I felt the absence of a love scene magnified that it was such a minor part of his identity that brought him to a sorrowful end. I won’t give away the details, but there is a beautiful monologue during the interrogation scene in which Turing muses on what makes us different from each other. There are still lessons to be learned by society, which should have been learned ages ago.
The atmosphere on set was a collaborative one and everyone was “like a big family”, according to writer Graham Moore and producers Ido Ostrowsky and Nora Grossman, whom I spoke with at TIFF. It shows on the screen.
As Turing informs us at the beginning of the film,”if you’re not paying attention, you will miss things”. And from a visual perspective, there is much cinematographic artwork and production design to be missed if you’re not looking. Sweeping wide shots pay respect to the meticulous level of detail in the sets. The color palette works woody browns and deep reds into the atmosphere. There is beauty in this film, if you look for it.
I won’t speculate on the Academy Awards when it comes to “The Imitation Game”, because we all know that “should” doesn’t necessarily mean “will”. But this film will, indeed, be a highlight of 2014’s fall releases. It’s a refreshing take on a time period oft depicted in cinema, and a story that has been carelessly left out of many history books.
A man who lent his talents to shorten a monstrous war, only to be persecuted by a forgetful society less than a decade later. The movie, in addition, challenges the audience to consider a frightening prospect: how much talent and genius has been suppressed or even lost throughout history, due to discrimination and intolerance?
Gabrielle Gozo (Twitter: @gabriellegozo) a designer, screenwriter and postgraduate film student living in London and New York City.

cumberbatchweb:

Our correspondent Gabrielle is at the Toronto Film Festival and has provided a first look review of The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch:

by Gabrielle Gozo

After watching “The Imitation Game”, director Morten Tyldum’s English-language debut, I was initially left speechless. Then suddenly, like the rest of the Press and Industry delegates in the theatre, I had so much to say.

The film blends a story together in three eras: Alan Turing’s childhood in the 1920s, his work to break the Enigma code in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and the investigation of his personal life in the early 1950s. Woven in with serious scenes depicting the frustration of the code breakers in Bletchley Park and newsreel footage of the war, is a sense of humor that lightens the mood of the film, just when it needs to be lightened.

As Turing, Benedict Cumberbatch portrays a man who is described by history as shy, yet outspoken. Those who are already fans of Cumberbatch’s dextrous ability to transform completely into his character will be unsurprised. Using the spectacularly-crafted script to his advantage, he captivates perfectly Turing’s personal and professional trials. And typical of Cumberbatch, there is no holding back. You can quite literally see him quivering with emotion at pivotal moments, embodying Turing entirely. I suspect that some might compare his Turing to his Sherlock Holmes, as both characters seem to have sharp-tongued quips. But one must think far beyond that; they are simply two men who have different ways of portraying the same thing: that brilliance can be quite off-putting to the ordinary person.

As an artist myself I feel compelled to note that this role is only the latest example of Cumberbatch being everything an artist should be: utterly devoted and offering a wealth of creativity to be consumed by the audience.

Keira Knightly’s role as Joan Clarke isn’t to be overlooked. When her character appears, there is an immediate display of sexism toward her, telling us instantly where a woman like her stood in the world—her intelligence made no never mind. Her strength and awareness of her position (the line “I’m a woman in a man’s job and I don’t have the luxury of being an ass” stands out) relieved me. It was great to remember that this was a real woman, “playing” (such as it’s termed by Stewart Menzies, played by the brilliant Mark Strong) with the big boys and more than just holding her own.

And a note on the fears of straight washing that some have expressed: never is Turing portrayed as any other sexual orientation than he was. Nor did I get the feeling that the director and writers shied away from showing any intimacy between Turing and another man on screen. In fact, I felt the absence of a love scene magnified that it was such a minor part of his identity that brought him to a sorrowful end. I won’t give away the details, but there is a beautiful monologue during the interrogation scene in which Turing muses on what makes us different from each other. There are still lessons to be learned by society, which should have been learned ages ago.

The atmosphere on set was a collaborative one and everyone was “like a big family”, according to writer Graham Moore and producers Ido Ostrowsky and Nora Grossman, whom I spoke with at TIFF. It shows on the screen.

As Turing informs us at the beginning of the film,”if you’re not paying attention, you will miss things”. And from a visual perspective, there is much cinematographic artwork and production design to be missed if you’re not looking. Sweeping wide shots pay respect to the meticulous level of detail in the sets. The color palette works woody browns and deep reds into the atmosphere. There is beauty in this film, if you look for it.

I won’t speculate on the Academy Awards when it comes to “The Imitation Game”, because we all know that “should” doesn’t necessarily mean “will”. But this film will, indeed, be a highlight of 2014’s fall releases. It’s a refreshing take on a time period oft depicted in cinema, and a story that has been carelessly left out of many history books.

A man who lent his talents to shorten a monstrous war, only to be persecuted by a forgetful society less than a decade later. The movie, in addition, challenges the audience to consider a frightening prospect: how much talent and genius has been suppressed or even lost throughout history, due to discrimination and intolerance?

Gabrielle Gozo (Twitter: @gabriellegozo) a designer, screenwriter and postgraduate film student living in London and New York City.

cumberbum

The Daily Beast sat down with Cumberbatch at TIFF for a wide-ranging discussion on the legacy of Turing, a homophobic incident that left the actor scarred, and much more.

Alan Turing is someone who has, by and large, not been entirely scrubbed from the history books, but certainly doesn’t have a prominent place in them.

He’s not as prominent as he should be. That’s the tragedy isn’t it, really? You have a guy whose life he cut off himself at 41.

There are different schools of debate on that though, right? Some conspiracy theorists believe he might have been offed due to the confidential knowledge he possessed, while others, like his mother, believe it was accidental.

This is my penny’s worth about that. Obviously, he was involved with very, very important, secretive work at Bletchley Park at the time of his death, and like Mark Strong’s character Mingus says in the film, “There will be other wars,” and the fact that we cracked this code this time, if people knew about that, we’d have to destroy almost everything. With all of the secretiveness, of course there’s potential for a conspiracy theory, because MI6 thought he might be dangerous, but I think that’s pooey. The only thing that’s in contention, really, is whether he died by accident or on purpose. His suicide note is framed to make it look like an accident. His coroner’s report said that it was a solution of cyanide and water, and then there was a bite of the apple. I think he made it look like it could potentially look like an accident so his mother wasn’t disgraced by the idea that her son committed suicide. She was already in denial about his sexuality.

He would’ve definitely played a larger role in the history books if the crazy homophobic witch-hunt after hadn’t happened. And the fact that Turing was only posthumously pardoned by the Queen late last year is pretty insane.

It’s disgusting. It gets me very, very angry.

The petition to pardon Turing was actually shot down in 2012 by Lord McNally, then Justice Minister.

Who’s Lord McNally? Well, he’s probably gay. They’re always the biggest homophobes. That’s shocking, but sadly not in ways that still have echoes of what that period was about—this deluded paranoia that everyone who was homosexual was immediately a communist. It was the same witch-hunt with us. Being homosexual was a massive red flag—no pun intended, but pun intended. That world of men living in secret about their sexuality was an incredibly clandestine place, which made it a very rich and fertile ground to accrue spies from—because their entire lives were held in secret. It’s like the radicalization of young Muslims now—things work in close proximity, and it spreads by word of mouth. If you have people of the same ilk side-by-side, that’s the best way to spread a secret. You don’t want it publicized, and you have to do a great deal of subterfuge. Being a homosexual in that era was considered morally repugnant, punishable, and curable.

The scenes of Turing undergoing the chemical castration are really gut wrenching.

And it’s still going on in North America with the Christian far right! There are courses and doctors and meds handed out to “cure” people of their homosexuality, and it’s shocking that it still goes on. It’s also shocking that any time there’s any kind of hardship, the minorities are immediately scapegoated—and that includes homosexuals in Russia, the Golden Dawn in Greece. The Golden Dawn came out of a financial crisis and people wanted answers, and the minute you start stirring up nationalistic feelings, minorities are the first people to get it because they’re the easiest to scapegoat. It’s terrifying.

There’s still a lot of homophobia in the U.S., as well.

Oh, the Christian far right? Yes. Very homophobic. You need to have a female president next, and then after that, a gay president. That’s the full journey from Obama’s legacy onwards. There’s a great Morrissey lyric from “America Is Not the World” from You Are the Quarry that goes, “In America, the land of the free, they said / And of opportunity, in a just and truthful way / But where the president is never black, female or gay, and until that day / You’ve got nothing to say to me, to help me believe.” It’s quite an old song from before Obama took office, but you’ve done black, then you need to do female, then the next, gay.

Did you ever have any experiences with homophobia? Bearing witness to it?

In an all-male boarding school, in the olden days, it was seen as being something that “just happened” since there were no girls, so you had a bit of an experience. But there was incredible homophobia at my school, to the point where two boys who were caught doing something were literally chased down the street.

I was 18. Two boys who were just discovered in bed together doing something, and it was shocking. I was just finishing an essay in the school dining hall at breakfast, and I looked out the window and heard a commotion, a pair of feet scampering by, and then a horde just charging after shouting, “Wankers! Faggots!” and I thought, “What the fuck is going on?” I asked these kids coming back from the house who were breathless from the hunt, “What are you doing you insane idiots? What the fuck?” They explained it, and I said, “And you’re a Sikh, you’re Jewish, and you’re from Kenya. Do you want to just sit down and talk about the strife that your people have suffered because of your religion, race, creed, or color? I mean, fuck me! You’ve really got to wake up to the fact that the world is full of disgusting prejudice because we are all different from one-another. You have to learn acceptance at this school, and you have to go into the world as a better person, and you have to try and embrace the fact that people are different rather than defining yourself by not being like them. Who cares that they’re gay? You have to coexist.

That’s also a good song—“Coexist” by The xx. But another way this film is very relevant to today, in addition to gay rights, is the idea of the hacker, or “disrupter,” as outsider. Two of the biggest of those, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, are currently persona non grata in much of the western world.

True. In exile in Russia, poor Edward Snowden. It’s interesting: Outsiders are becoming mainstream. That’s the truth. You see it in culture, as well. Bryan Singer’s X-Men series is an entire celebration of what oppressed minorities are capable of. I think that’s a really healthy thing that’s happening in our culture. We have a lot more unlikely heroes now. It’s not just the guy with guns—it’s the guy with brains.

Well, the powers that be have never liked “disrupters.” Hell, Jesus was a disrupter. They’re all about social order and maintaining the status quo.

There are some sides of it that are really bad.

Like all this hacking going on.

Yeah. I think invasions of privacy are not to be tolerated. At the same time, that’s a much more complicated question because sometimes, by revealing truths, we understand better what truths are being kept from us and therefore how undemocratic our seeming democracy is. It’s a balancing act. You have to respect certain rules of law and progressive means of facilitating change from other avenues. If you rebel and throw all principles out the window, you lose traction. Intelligence-gathering isn’t always the bad thing to do, and if you’ve got people on the ground who are part the movement who could help us understand ISIS better instead of…

…just saying “let’s bomb the shit out of them.”

Yeah. A retired intelligence officer was talking today about how we should let returning Jihadis regain entrance into the UK. Why wouldn’t we want to learn from them what the hell is going on over there? What made them want to do it? Who recruited them, and how to stop the recruiting? What, we just shut the problem out? Yes, I understand that it stems from a security concern that one of those returning radicals could then carry a bomb onto public transport, but if it’s managed—and I think with those who are known, how could it not be managed?—how would we not benefit from them being reabsorbed back into our culture?

You mentioned ISIS, and you’ve done some work with the Stop the War Coalition in the UK, which protested against the Iraq War. ISIS is it seems, to a degree, a byproduct of the crap job we did in Iraq.

It really is. The usual means of showing your prowess and strength just won’t work with this. You can’t kill an idea with bombs—in fact, you often strengthen ideas with bombs. To really understand [ISIS] is how we’re going to be able to start combating it, and changing it. Although, I think there’s nothing else in the world that would make any right-minded person want to be totally opposed. If there was conscription and I was asked, I would go, because it’s fundamental to every person’s ideology on this planet, no matter what race or creed you are. It’s their way, or death. That’s as clear-cut a divide in morality and principles as we’ve faced with fascism in the Second World War, and we haven’t really had a uniting common understanding in something that’s so the polar opposite to what’s sacred in life than that, really. It’s a form of ethical and moral genocide, as well as the idea of race. It’s about killing everyone who doesn’t believe—even Muslims who don’t believe in the same extremity of what they believe in. It’s astonishing, and terrifying, and needs to be opposed. But, I do think the smart way of doing it is to understand it totally first.

The two performances everyone’s talking about at the festival are you as Alan Turing, and Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking. There’s an interesting connection there because Hawking was one of the bigger celebrities that lent his name to a Telegraph op-ed demanding that Turing be pardoned posthumously.

And I played Stephen, as well. Eddie even texted me from Harrow, my old school, underneath a chalkboard with my name on it while he was dressed as Stephen Hawking. It was one of the most surreal, hall-of-mirrors experiences I’ve had of the past year.

cumberbatched-italia
londonphile:

Stars rush to beat cancer

Dashing celebrities – all part of photographer Greg Williams’s charity campaign
When the photographer Greg Williams took these pictures, he was looking for one thing: urgency. Gillian Anderson flung off her heels and ran barefoot along the pavement; Idris Elba bolted down a London street; Steve Coogan leapt over a hedge. It was all in aid of the Stand Up To Cancer campaign, which launches this autumn.
Williams lost his mother to ovarian cancer in 2008, after three relapses that spanned 19 years. For this project he asked his subjects to sprint towards him “as fast as they can, as if trying to save a life”.
The first person Williams enlisted was his good friend, the actor Tom Hardy, who charged down the road near his house in a dressing gown and boxer shorts. The idea was that, “He could have just been making his breakfast at home and then suddenly it’s this mad call to arms. He drops everything and the most important thing in the world is saving that life,” says Williams.
Other stars soon came forward to support the campaign. Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne and Anna Friel all took part in a bid to increase awareness. “The quicker we move, the faster we can find cures and help people,” says Williams. “It makes perfect sense really.”
Stand Up To Cancer is a joint national fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 (standuptocancer.org.uk)

londonphile:

Stars rush to beat cancer

Dashing celebrities – all part of photographer Greg Williams’s charity campaign

When the photographer Greg Williams took these pictures, he was looking for one thing: urgency. Gillian Anderson flung off her heels and ran barefoot along the pavement; Idris Elba bolted down a London street; Steve Coogan leapt over a hedge. It was all in aid of the Stand Up To Cancer campaign, which launches this autumn.

Williams lost his mother to ovarian cancer in 2008, after three relapses that spanned 19 years. For this project he asked his subjects to sprint towards him “as fast as they can, as if trying to save a life”.

The first person Williams enlisted was his good friend, the actor Tom Hardy, who charged down the road near his house in a dressing gown and boxer shorts. The idea was that, “He could have just been making his breakfast at home and then suddenly it’s this mad call to arms. He drops everything and the most important thing in the world is saving that life,” says Williams.

Other stars soon came forward to support the campaign. Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne and Anna Friel all took part in a bid to increase awareness. “The quicker we move, the faster we can find cures and help people,” says Williams. “It makes perfect sense really.”

Stand Up To Cancer is a joint national fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 (standuptocancer.org.uk)

I think we should all take a moment to say #ThankyouBenedict …
This is my personal thank you, but you all can join in if you wish, I think it is important that he feels our support!

Thank you for your work, your kindness, your gentlemanly manners, for the fact that you always find some time for us fans,for inspiring many of us to learn new things, to open our minds, in fact THANK YOU for being among us, and I sincerely hope you will be for many years more!

Yours sincerely,

Margherita          

I think we should all take a moment to say #ThankyouBenedict …

This is my personal thank you, but you all can join in if you wish, I think it is important that he feels our support!

Thank you for your work, your kindness, your gentlemanly manners, for the fact that you always find some time for us fans,for inspiring many of us to learn new things, to open our minds, in fact THANK YOU for being among us, and I sincerely hope you will be for many years more!

Yours sincerely,

Margherita