On September 18th, 2013 at 23:00 GMT, WikiLeaks did what they do best in order to protect their own. The website that prides itself on representing “true journalism” by leaking confidential information to the public, released the entire screenplay for the upcoming movie The Fifth Estate on their website.
The script leak, which can be found here, was followed by a memo of criticisms and fact corrections about the movie. In the film Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness, BBC‘s Sherlock) plays WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange. The film, adapted from the books WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy and Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website, follows Assange and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg as they become the largest source in breaking news when they create a platform for whisteblowers to anonymously release data and documents.
While public statements released in opposition to films with controversial subject matter are not new, WikiLeaks demonstrates its embodiment of the internet’s power in a move that is almost as damaging as releasing the entire film itself. The memo, written by WikiLeaks, states that the site has several versions of the script. They claim that a lot of their concerns and criticisms were based off of the most “mature” version of the story that, when compared to the finished shooting script, has gone through very few changes.
Some of WikiLeaks’ major points can be found as red-lettered headlines in the memo, including: “WikiLeaks has caused no harm to anyone,” or “The Fifth Estate is a work of fiction masquerading as fact.” They even go as far as to correct specific inconsistencies with the screenplay and their side of the story, which they state as being “a film about WikiLeaks, without WikiLeaks,” claiming that neither Julian Assange, nor any the entire WikiLeaks group, was involved in the creation of the movie. The book Inside WikiLeaks (see above) was written by Domscheit-Berg after he left the site.
Julian Assange is currently in political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, but has previously stated that The Fifth Estate is the “anti-WikiLeaks movie.” The film is due out on October 18th, nationwide.