Cumberbatch as Assange will fascinate – but it’s not the only WikiLeaks film

By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

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Benedict Cumberbutch as Julian Assange. Pic: Frank Connor

The release by Dreamworks of a picture showing Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in their upcoming feature has created quite a stir – and understandably enough, it’s a very striking image, and Cumberbatch and Assange, in their own ways, are two men that it can be hard to take your eyes off.

More on the film from Entertainment Weekly:

The year of Benny Batch continues! DreamWorks announced today that principal photography has commenced on its heretofore untitled feature film about the creation of the controversial website WikiLeaks and its co-founder and international fugitive Julian Assange. Now titled The Fifth Estate, the film traces the meteoric rise of the site through the eyes of Assange colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg. He’s played by Inglourious Basterds‘ Daniel Brühl, who’s pictured above with Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange in the first official image from the film. Bleached white hair is eerily becoming on Mr Cumberbatch, is it not? 

Director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, KinseyThe Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) and screenwriter Josh Singer (Fox’s Fringe, NBC’s The West Wing) have based the screenplay in part on Domscheit-Berg’s book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World’s Most Dangerous Website, as well as WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy by British journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding.

Assange has sharply attacked the film, calling it “a massive propaganda attack”. Speaking to an Oxford Union audience via videolink, he said he had seen the screenplay, and that it was “lie upon lie. The movie is a massive propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the character of my staff.”

He claimed the film was guilty of “fanning the flames” of a conflict with Iran by its suggestion the country was working on a nuclear bomb.

But while that film will get the lion’s share of attention, bear in mind it’s not the only WikiLeaks-related movie in the works.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, a documentary directed by Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room; Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer), has just screened at Sundance, prompting criticism from WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson, who says it fails to recognise “the threats that WikiLeaks faces in terms of potential US prosecution”.

Here’s a clip:

And more from Democracy Now! at Sundance:

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