Nora Grossmanspoke to students at her alma mater, Boston University, last week about her recent success as a film producer but acknowledged to us that it would be difficult for students — or anyone, for that matter — to replicate her path to success. Grossman, an ’05 grad, was basically unemployed with a resume of TV jobs in 2009 when she read that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has issued a posthumous apology to codebreaker Alan Turing, who was prosecuted for homosexuality in the 1950s, when it was still illegal to be gay the U.K.
Grossman had never heard Turing’s story, but was intrigued and started to do research. She became so interested in the British mathematician, that she and her unemployed friend/producing partner, Ido Ostrowsky, optioned Andrew Hodges’s book, “Alan Turing: The Enigma.”
What stared as a small idea got bigger when another friend, “The Sherlockian” author Graham Moore, volunteered to write the movie on spec. “We would just take him to dinner,” Grossman remembered, about the lack of money involved in the project.
That script wound up getting major studio attention, and within a few years it became the highly-anticipated biopic “The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. The movie will be released in Boston on Friday. Grossman told us that despite the high-profile status of the film, the project still feels like a grassroots effort, even with the A-list cast. “It’s like a summer camp feel,” she said of the group getting together again for premieres.
Grossman’s company is now working on an original project for J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot, and has a TV series in development at Sky Atlantic in the U.K. But she said she’s still just getting started. “We don’t have ... a reserve,” she said, smiling, after we asked whether she’s now rich and famous.
But Grossman should be there soon enough. On Thursday morning it was announced that “The Imitation Game” had earned five Golden Globe nominations, including one for Best Motion Picture, Drama.