Remember when Julian Assange was a hot news item? While the media has moved on from the escapades of the WikiLeaks founder (who is now fighting deportation to Sweden to face alleged sexual assault charges), one of the many projects in the works about him has drawn some high profile names.
Over at DreamWorks, Jeremy Renner is taking a look at playing Assange, while Bill Condon is kicking the tires on directing. As you might remember, way back in the spring of 2011, the studio acquired the screen rights for “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website” and “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy.” The former was penned by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former high-ranking Wikileaks member who defected, uncomfortable with the organization’s broad dumping of material without discretion. The latter book was written by journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding, who recount their dealings with Assange — who once hid from the CIA in Leigh’s house — as they worked with him on the publication of a couple of the big document dumps that made waves last year.
Both Renner and Condon are interesting choices to take on the untitled film. For Renner, he’d get to try on an accent while also delving into a deeply complex character, while Condon will get to do something a lot meatier than the “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” films he’s spent the last few years putting together. The tricky part of course, is that Assange’s story is still on going as he seeks asylum in Ecuador, and as Wikileaks has recently found a way around Visa and MasterCard’s attempt to block donations, and are on the way to becoming financially viable again, which could open up a more active chapter for the group.
But the other side of the coin is that there are a number of competing projects in development including one from “The Hurt Locker” scribe Mark Boal based on the New York Times Magazine article “The Boy Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest: Dealing With Assange And The WikiLeaks Secrets”; a documentary by Alex Gibney; another film based on the biography “The Most Dangerous Man In The World”; an HBO movie based on The New Yorker article “No Secrets: Julian Assange’s Mission for Total Transparency” and “Underground” about Assange’s early days as a computer hacker, which already shot this spring. Take that Snow White movies!
We’ll see if this actually moves forward, but if it’s already attracting this kind of talent, it looks like Assange won’t be fading from public memory any time soon.