Film: Julian Assange biopic in the works

(Creative Commons photo by Flickr user espenmoe)

(Creative Commons photo by Flickr user espenmoe)

Posted by Sam Bouchat on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 6:36 pm.

A couple years ago, Julian Assange and his development, Wikileaks, was all the rage. Assange’s online creation Wikileaks released hundreds of government documents from around the world. Now, he’s somehow been thrust from the media spotlight. Sure, he pops up in the news now and again, but he’s nothing like the freedom-of-information sweetheart he was in 2010 and 2011. Maybe it was when his trouble with the law came to a head. He was accused of sexual assault in Sweden and fled to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition, where he remains today. Still, the man’s story from liberator to disgrace to symbol is an ongoing battle that leaves many politically savvy news-watchers on edge. The perfect time, therefore, for a biographical film about him.

“The Fifth Estate,” a Dreamworks production, began filming in late January, starting in Iceland, moving to Berlin and Belgium. It tells the story of Assange’s rise to fame, as well as the origin and journey of Wikileaks.

Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”) is donning a white wig to portray Assange in the film, to be released in the U.S. on Nov. 15. From his temporary home in the Ecuadorean Embassy, Assange called the upcoming film a “massive propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the character of my staff,” though very little information has been released yet about the content and angle of the film. Assange, however, claims to have obtained a leaked copy of the script — Dreamworks representatives have not yet commented on this, and Assange has not posted the script on Wikileaks.

The film’s script is based off of two books written by Wikileaks insiders and experts. One is called “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website” by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who was Wikileaks’ spokesperson up until September 2010. Domscheit-Berg will be played by “Inglourious Basterds” actor Daniel Bruhl. The other book is called “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy” by Guardian writers David Leigh and Luke Harding.

Whether the film is, as Assange puts it, “a lie built on a lie,” it looks to be an interesting piece that will hopefully shed some light on the mysteries surrounding Wikileaks and its founder.