Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes in BBC’s Sherlock) will portray one of the world’s most controversial figures, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in the upcoming film The Fifth Estate. The screenplay is partially based on two books: Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy.
The trailer depicts several aspects of the rise of WikiLeaks – from the release of footage from Apache helicopter killings in Baghdad to the publication of 90,000 classified documents from Afghanistan to Assange’s crumbling relationship with former WikiLeaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg.
Assange has called the film “a massive propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the character of my staff,” according to The Guardian, though Cumberbatch told Rolling Stone the film isn’t intended as an attack on the group.
“A lot of the film will address WikiLeaks, which achieved an extraordinary revolution in modern media, the transparency of information,” Cumberbatch said. “And that’s not a bad thing: we need to look at how these structures and the hypocrisies evolved. They tell us what to do, they take our tax money and do with it what they please, and then behave immorally. The good work that was done by that organization is celebrated as much as examined in the film.”
The Fifth Estate will be released on October 11th.