The story of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, is getting the film treatment from Dreamworks. While the real Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Benedict Cumberbatch will be portraying the controversial figure in a movie that began filming this week.
Cumberbatch's name will be mentioned throughout 2013. While he has wrapped up plenty of films, the British actor will remain busy in new productions. Perhaps his most intriguing role is that of Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks.
Dreamworks Studios announced the WikiLeaks movie, “The Fifth Estate,” has begun filming. The film stars Cumberbatch and German actor Daniel Bruhl as WikiLeaks leader Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and is directed by Bill Condon (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” “Dreamgirls”). According to the official synopsis, “Through the eyes of Daniel Domscheit-Berg, an early supporter and eventual colleague of Julian Assange, the film follows the heady, early days of WikiLeaks to its abrupt end after a series of controversial and history changing info leaks.” The movie will focus on the friendship, and subsequent falling out between Assange and Domscheit-Berg as well as the fame and attention surrounding WikiLeaks.
“The Fifth Estate” will be based on Domscheit-Berg’s memoir, “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website” and the David Leigh and Luke Harding book, “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy.”
Before the announcement by Dreamworks on Wednesday, very little was known about the WikiLeaks movie, only that Cumberbatch was attached to star and James McAvoy had to drop out of the film. With the announcement of filming on “The Fifth Estate” has started, Dreamworks also announced the release date of the movie.
Dreamworks plans on releasing “The Fifth Estate” on Nov. 15, a prime date for prestige movies. It looks like Dreamworks is banking on this movie generating plenty of conversation and awards buzz.
Cumberbatch, most famous for his role as Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock,” also has starred in “War Horse,” “Atonement” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” And he has four films lined up for release in 2013 in addition to “The Fifth Estate.”
Cumberbatch will star alongside Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in “Twelve Years a Slave,” Steve McQueen’s follow-up to his acclaimed film “Shame.” In the adaptation of the acclaimed play, “August: Osage County,” he will play “Little” Charles Aiken alongside Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Ewan McGregor. Cumberbatch will also return to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” as the Necromancer.
Perhaps the most-talked about role for Cumberbatch will be his starring role in “Star Trek Into the Darkness.” He will play the main villain, John Harrison, and publicity photos have revealed plenty of interaction between Cumberbatch’s character and Spock, played by Zachary Quinto, and Captain Kirk, played by Chris Pine. Many believe Cumberbatch will be revealed as Khan and fans will continue to speculate until the movie is released on May 17.
Speaking of WikiLeaks, Condon said, "“It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it's revolutionized the spread of information. So this film won't claim any long view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment. We want to explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information age and, we hope, enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked."
Dreamworks released the first photo of Cumberbatch as Julian Assange and the likeness is quite striking. No word yet on when a trailer will be ready or if “The Fifth Estate” will be ready for the Cannes Film Festival, which is in May, or the Venice Film Festival, which is in August.
Charles Poladian joined IBTimes in October 2012 and, when not reporting on all things topical, can be found reading or photographing concerts.