The Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch's potentially Oscar-winning movie about the genius mathematician tasked with cracking the "unbreakable" codes of Germany's World War II enigmatic machine, opens in the UK today. Cumberbatch is now regarded as one of the most sought after actors on the planet, though, as Variety reports, Hollywood had an even bigger star readied for the role of Alan Turing.

The Imitation GameBenedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game

The movie was originally set up at Warner Bros with Leonardo Dicaprio in talks to play Turing - a man who, despite helping his country win the war, was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952 and was chemically castrated as an alternative to prison. 

At a swanky party at the Chateau Marmont this week to celebrate the movie's opening, Cumberbatch said The Imitation Game was the first movie that he'd ever tracked through the development process.

More: Is Benedict Cumberbatch related to his Imitation Game subject Alan Turing?

"I just - like anyone who read the script - saw the merit [in the story]: A really beautiful, uncompromising, funny, savagely honest introduction to this character, and the combined, parallel story of breaking a code while breaking down who this man is. Just when you think you've got a hold of what the film is, that it's some kind of crescendoing spy thriller, it takes you in a completely different direction, and, without giving anything away, becomes a very different film by the end."

Benedict CumberbatchBenedict Cumberbatch could win an Oscar for his portrayal of the mathematics genius

"I loved that about it. And what an extraordinary, unique and challenging character to play - I'm kind of drawn to those. If there's anything this film achieves artistically on its merits, I'm just thrilled that I helped celebrate him and his importance."

More: Eddie Redmayne could be Oscars bound for The Theory of Everything

Michael Keaton remains the odds-on favourite to win Best Actor at the Oscars for his stunning performance in Birdman, though we're all too aware of the Academy's dismissal of the avant-garde and penchant for historical biopics. The bookmakers have Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Cumberbatch stalking the Hollywood veteran as second and third favorites.

The Imitation Game hits theaters in the UK today (November 14) and opens in the U.S on November 28.

Watch The Imitation Game trailer: