Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (photo), who directed last year's most successful Norwegian feature, Headhunters (Hodejegerne), which took 530,000 admissions domestically and sold more than 50 territories, has dropped out of local €10.1 million historical drama Tordenskiold, to direct The Imitation Game in the US.
Originally to be helmed by US director Ron Howard, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead, then by Martin Scorsese, Teddy Schwartzman's production for Black Bear Pictures will now become Tyldum's entry into international filmmaking instead of Bastille Day, with Ben Affleck, which has been temporarily shelved.
The Imitation Game is based on Graham Moore's book about the UK mathematician, logician, crypto-analyst and computer scientist Alan Mathison Turing, who was during WW2 head of Hut 2 at Bletchley Park, the code-breaking centre that unravelled the settings of Germany's Enigma machine.
After the war, he worked in the computer industry. A homosexual, he was prosecuted in 1952, and accepted chemical castration to avoid prison. He committed suicide in 1954, by cyanide poisoning, aged 42. In 2009, British PM Gordon Brown issued a public apology for "the appalling way he was treated".
"It is an exciting, touching and rather tragic story - a portrait of a genius, a war drama and a spy thriller all in one," said Tyldum, whose feature debut, Buddy (Buddy) (2002), was awarded an Amanda - Norway's national film prize - for Best Film. He expected to start shooting in the US next April.
Meanwhile Norwegian producers John M. Jacobsen and Sveinung Golimo are looking for a new director for the biopic of 18th century Norwegian-Danish nobleman and naval officer Peter Wessel Tordenskiold, scripted by Danish writers Mikael Olsen and Gert Duve Skovlund, to be co-produced by Denmark's Zentropa Entertainments.
The Norwegian Film Institute had chipped in €2.2 million for the project, but with the withdrawal of Tyldum, the institute will need a new application with a new director to reconsider its commitment. Filming was due to begin in May, but Golimo has assumed it will be delayed.
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