Leonardo DiCaprio frontrunner to portray codebreaker Alan Turing

The tragic WW2 hero is getting the 'King's Speech' treatment

Leonardo DiCaprio has emerged as the frontrunner to play codebreaker Alan Turing in a forthcoming film.

Warner Bros have bought script The Imitation Game by first-time writer Graham Moore that centres on the mathematics genius, who was credited with playing a significant part in Britain’s victory in the second world war, according to Deadline.

At this early stage, the Titanic star is already being linked to the lead role. The film will be expected to build on Hollywood’s appetite for British history following the monster success of The King’s Speech.

Turing was largely written out of 2001’s Enigma, the last major portrayal of the Bletchley Park decryption centre, even though he was the leading figure among the codebreakers. Michael Apted‘s film drew criticism for centreing instead on a heterosexual character named Jericho, played by Dougray Scott, who in all other ways resembled Turing.

Turing has been credited as the godfather of computer science and artificial intelligence, but he died in 1954 after apparently committing suicide. After being prosecuted for homosexual activities after the war, he was forced to undergo ‘chemical castration’ as an alternative to prison.

It took until 2009 for the prime minister, then Gordon Brown, to make an official public apology for Turing’s treatment at the hands of the British government.