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Benedict Cumberbatch Confirmed To Play Julian Assange, James McAvoy Joins Him

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by Kevin Jagernauth
November 9, 2012 2:57 PM
11 Comments
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Even though Julian Assange has gone from notorious hacker to exiled cause celebre (hell, Lady Gaga of all people paid him a visit at the Ecuadorean embassy in London), his saga remains fascinating and important. Which means Hollywood has come calling. And while there are a handful of competing features and documentaries out there, DreamWorks looks to be out of the gate first as their untitled project begins to take shape.

First rumored last month, Benedict Cumberbatch is now confirmed to play the WikiLeaks founder, while his foil will be none other than James McAvoy. It will be the third pairing for the actors who've previously appeared in the enjoyable and underrated "Starter For Ten" as well as Joe Wright's "Atonement," and this time, it will be Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls," "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn") behind the camera.

Based on the books "Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World's Most Dangerous Website" and "WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War On Secrecy," and penned by Josh Singer ("The West Wing," "Fringe"), the film will apparently side with the narrative that Assange was a whisteblower who apparently let power get to his head and let the ethics of his work slide, much to the chagrin of his right hand man Daniel Domscheit-Berg (McAvoy, though Joel Kinnaman was previously rumored for the part), who also just happened to write that 'Inside Julian Assange' book. It's a juicy direction to take this story for sure, though one wonders about the reliable nature of the storyteller, who is also behind his own "competing" venture OpenLeaks.

But either way, it's a pretty crackerjack pairing and great material to work with, so we're definitely curious. No exact start date yet, but it will work around McAvoy's commitments to "X-Men: Days of Future Past." [Variety]

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11 Comments

  • Nathaniel | November 15, 2012 3:47 AMReply

    While I would look forward to a movie on the travails of Wikileaks, I seriously doubt that it is a good idea to make it from these two books considering that one is written by a man who hates Julian Assange and therefore has portrayed him as a good-for-nothing egomaniac in his book, while the other book was published without Assange's consent and therefore possibly contains inaccuracies as well. I'm not one of those people who think that Assange is a hero with flaw, but I think it is seriously unfair to create a movie based on such biased books that has everybody's opinions except the man himself.

  • Cumby #1 | November 11, 2012 9:29 PMReply

    Cumberbatch!

  • lucy | November 10, 2012 2:33 PMReply

    oh my...these books are not accurate sources about these MAJOR and COMPLEX subjects..i am very afraid with Hollywood version of real facts and a real complex story..i am afraid, very afraid..if Julian was not as much busy with more important issues he should sue..on these american hacks who want to make money on his life and engagement by twisting real facts..ugh..McAvoy and Cumberbatch are maybe great actors but who cares if the movie is a totally biased bunch of lies..i am depressed by Hollywood who continue to bank on subjects they don't handle, don't understand, don't manage..sigh (frustration)
    Will Dreamworks allow to show USA part on (actually they are the main culprit in Assange's scapegoat situation with the 'law' right now) censorship of WikiLeaks ?! Well i don't think so..Shame on you Hollywood..shame on you.

  • Iris | November 10, 2012 5:27 AMReply

    @Tom: of course he will be the centre of the film. They don't do a documentary. How could you make a movie about WikiLeaks without Assange being the centre of the movie?

  • Bob Scott | November 9, 2012 10:36 PMReply

    Interesting, but the makers of the movie should wait. It's well-known in Sweden that the sex allegations against Julian Assange are untrue and it looks increasingly possible that Julian Assange could successfully sue the Swedish police and government, and for that matter several Swedish newspapers and the state TV channel. In essence, because the woman who was said to have been raped made no such claim, she was set up as a rape victim without her knowledge as part of a political conspiracy. When that failed, events that never happened were inserted into her police interrogation and these fictitious events are the basis of the European Arrest Warrant against Assange and the entire legal process in the UK from lower court to appeal court to Supreme Court. The only impediment for Assange is the dubious nature of Swedish judges (most are members of political parties, without legal training) and justice system. For example, in connection with the arrest warrant for Assange, the appeal court in Sweden accepted that Assange had broken and used a condom supplied by the other complainant but there was no DNA on the condom and as Assange's lawyer pointed out to that court, it was totally impossible for it to have been used for sex, nevertheless the court ignored this. There are many sources in Swedish, one in English is the e-book 'Julian Assange in Sweden' by Guy Sims, there are many web sites and various blogs in English with this information as well. Although the sex allegations appear to be only a minor part of the movie they are the pivotal facts for most people. It costs a lot to make a movie, especially one that gets sidelined by events.

  • lucy | November 10, 2012 2:35 PM

    No they should just NOT DO this movie, it will be a disgusting travesty, mark my words.

  • Bobbi | November 9, 2012 8:35 PMReply

    Benedict was 'Hawking" and Van Gogh and was brilliant in both. It's good to see he will be working with McAvoy again. They are good friends and work well together. Benedict has movies coming out in 2013 with characters who will be completely different from each other.
    For anyone who has just heard his name and know nothing else, other than a picture here and there, are going to be stunned. As JJ said, as he was putting S.T. together "Benedict is mind-blowing great: People putting movies together want to work with him because they know they will get someone who knows everything about the character and he will give them 100 (or more) percent.

  • Travis | November 9, 2012 8:20 PMReply

    This seems Social Network-esque, except with my favorite actor ever

  • Lee | November 9, 2012 4:29 PMReply

    I'm a bit surprised that Cumberbatch is taking on two biographies but as an actor, if anyone can pull it off, he can. He's got so much work done now but none that is hitting the screen yet for months - it's amazing that no one has yet to see him as a lead in a film for the big screen but he has now scored some real plum jobs - well deserved for someone as talented. The guy is a veritable shape shifter - cannot wait to see his magic.

  • Tom | November 9, 2012 5:45 PM

    I don't think it's a biopic of Assange. He's not the focus of this film but Wikileaks itself and how it came about.

  • ilioas ellas | November 9, 2012 4:21 PMReply

    Please help support freedom of the press and freedom of information by sponsoring Julian Assange for the Nobel prize for freedom of the press: Google: Avaaz.org Julian Assange for Nobel prize "Freedom of the Press" and vote!

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