Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness) plays the news-leaking website WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, in the dramatic thriller based on real events, The Fifth Estate, which has been chosen to open the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) September 5.
Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, Chicago, Dreamgirls) is directing from a script by Josh Singer (The West Wing, Fringe), adapted in part from the best-selling book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website by Daniel Domscheit-Berg.
The film focuses on the quest to expose deception and the corruption of power. Dreamworks is expecting some controversy upon release, as WikiLeaks has already complained to its two million Twitter followers that it’s not happy with the film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, after reading a copy of the script Julian Assange denounced the film and was quoted as saying, “Don’t be fooled. It implies we have given Iran nukes and have killed 2000 people. The Fifth Estate is a massive propaganda attack.” Many feel the exposure will be good for WikiLeaks, especially after its recent embracing of NSA Surveillance program leaker Edward Snowden.
MovieFone quotes Benedcit Cumberbatch’s feelings on playing Assange. “I feel I’ve humanized someone that many people only think of in terms of tabloid headlines. He is an extraordinary figure, and the movie is an attempt to unlock a little about who he is and what motivates him. It’s the first time I’ve ever played a real person, one who is still living, with a story that is continually unfolding in the world. It was quite challenging. I’m sure he’ll come after me, that’s his personality, but I have nothing to hide and I have no bank accounts in the Cayman Islands.”
Cumberbatch has been very busy over the last year. He has four films opening in the next four months. He stars in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, opening October 18 ( the same day as The Fifth Estate), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens December 13, and he plays Meryl Streep’s nephew in August: Osage County, opening December 25.
The film also stars Daniel Bruhl (Inglorious Basterds, Rush) as former WikiLeaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Laura Linney (Mystic River, Kinsey), Peter Capaldi (Dangerosu Liasons, and the new face of Doctor Who), and Carice Van Houten (Game of Thrones) also star.
Steve Golin, Michael Sugar, Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, and Richard Sharkey are producing with Dreamworks, Touchstone Pictures, and Participant Media.
The Fifth Estate opens worldwide October 18.