It’s a ripped from the headlines story! And of course, we all knew it would find its way to the big screen, and it’s already stirring up controversy.
A movie called “The Fifth Estate” is in the works, centering on the WikiLeaks drama that filled headlines, web sites, blogs and newspapers over the past few years.
Benedict Cumberbatch will star as Julian Assange (good choice), with Daniel Brühl as Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Peter Capaldi, Dan Stevens, Alicia Vikander and Carice van Houten will also star.
The movie will hit theaters Nov. 15, 2013 and be distributed domestically by Disney’s Touchstone label, with international distribution split among Disney, DreamWorks partner Reliance, and deals made through the studio’s partnership with Mister Smith Entertainment.
Following Daniel Domscheit-Berg, an early supporter and eventual colleague of Julian Assange, “The Fifth Estate” traces the early days of WikiLeaks, culminating in the release of a series of controversial and history changing information leaks. The website’s overnight success brought instant fame to its principal architects and transformed the flow of information to news media and the world at large.
The real-life Julian Assange has already attacked the premise of the movie.
“It is a lie upon lie,” he told Oxford university students by videolink from the Ecuadorian embassy. “The movie is a massive propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the character of my staff.”
Assange read from a copy of the script as he accused the movie’s maker, Dreamworks, of “fanning the flames” of war against Iran. He told the Oxford Union that the opening scene was set inside a military complex in Iran with documents containing nuclear symbols and asked: “How does this have anything to do with us?”
Guess we’ll find out.
Bill Condon — who directed “Dreamgirls” and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” — will directed the film from a screenplay by Josh Singer (“Fringe,” The West Wing”). It’s based on the books “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website” by Daniel Domscheit-Berg and “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy” by David Leigh and Luke Harding.
Probably hoping to avoid the controversy stirred by Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” Condon already appears to be thwarting full authority on the subject.
“It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it’s revolutionized the spread of information,” said Condon in a press release. “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.”
Love a good political drama. It’ll be fun watching this one take shape.