Prophet or pariah? That’s the question that still surrounds Julian Assange, who even holed up in an Ecuadorian embassy in London, continues to make waves. It was actually two years ago when he warned iPhone, Blackberry and Gmail users about widespread surveillance—well in advance of Edward Snowden‘s NSA leaks—and this week, Time reporter Michael Grunwald landed in hot water for tweeting: “I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.” There are vested interests on both sides who want a piece of Assange, and so does Hollywood.
The whistleblower’s life is getting the big screen treatment (much to his chagrin) in “The Fifth Estate,” with Benedict Cumberbatch taking on the silver-haired lead. The film will track the partnership between Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Bruhl), and later their split, when the ethics surrounding their actions come under increasing scrutiny. The supporting cast is pretty ace with Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Peter Capaldi, Carice van Houten, Dan Stevens, Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney all on board. 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?”
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.
After kicking off the Toronto International Film Festival next month, “The Fifth Estate” will land in theaters on October 18th. Check out the new poster and images below.