I’ve always sort of pictured Benedict Cumberbatch as the most British man alive, but playing Wikileaks’ Julian Assange in this trailer for The Fifth Estate, the ol’ chimney sweep proves himself more than capable of pulling off an Australian accent, unlike, say, anyone in Pacific Rim. Assange, the Edgar Winters of journalism, is obviously a divisive figure, and in The Fifth Estate, director Bill Condon, fresh off filming abstinence-induced feats of strength and the agony of heartburn face in the last two Twilight movies, directs an adaptation of 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), written for the screen by Fringe writer Josh Singer. Think of it as the narrative fiction counterpart to We Steal Secrets.
Regardless, hopefully Bill Condon hasn’t gotten too used to shooting Twilight movies. If the Julian Assange character and some girl just stand there staring at each other with stupid f*cking looks on their faces for ten minutes, we’ll know.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Triggering our age of high-stakes secrecy, explosive news leaks and the trafficking of classified information, WikiLeaks forever changed the game. Now, in a dramatic thriller based on real events, THE FIFTH ESTATE reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization. The story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world’s most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society—and what are the costs of exposing them?” [ThePlaylist]
Is it just me, or does “Domscheit” seem like a perfect spelling of an insult Colin Farrell might use? “Hey, domscheit, get off yer arse and bring me a point, whoy doncha.”
Anyway, Assange is the type of guy who can seem like a hero because he’s probably doing a net good for the world, but that’s probably not going to matter to you if you’re some kind of covert agent that he’s outed, in which case he’s definitely a weaselly villain. Trying to strike the right balance with the material seems like it’d be difficult, but clearly if you’ve just spent the last three years turning Stephenie Meyer’s third grade fart prose into pictures, you’re not one to shy away from a challenge.
Also, not to get too political here, but does anyone else constantly misread “Assange” as “Ass mange?” Discuss. But be respectful.
Opens October 18th.