Julian Assange has become one of the most-recognised names in current affairs in recent years, and we all knew it wouldn’t be long before the events of his life would get the big-screen treatment. Now DreamWorks have put into production The Fifth Estate, the anticipated drama focusing on WikiLeaks which has been quickly developing in recent months.
And it seems fitting that Benedict Cumberbatch should be the one to take the role of Assange. He himself has become one of the most recognisable names in the industry in recent years, with an impressive flexibility at playing on both sides of the law, which I think will definitely be to his (and ultimately our) advantage here.
The studio officially announced yesterday that principal photography has begun, and EW have our first official image of Cumberbatch alongside co-star Daniel Brühl.
“Following Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Brühl), an early supporter and eventual colleague of Julian Assange (Cumberbatch), “The Fifth Estate” traces the heady, early days of WikiLeaks, culminating in the release of a series of controversial and history changing information leaks. The website’s overnight success brought instant fame to its principal architects and transformed the flow of information to news media and the world at large.”
Joining them is one of the finest casts of the year, headed up by Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, Alicia Vikander, David Thewlis, Peter Capaldi, Dan Stevens, and Carice van Houten.
Oscar-winning director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) is behind the camera, directing from a script by Josh Singer (The West Wing, Fringe). Singer is making his feature debut as a writer, working on the script to adapt the original 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 Luke Harding and David Leigh.
The Fifth Estate will be released in the US on 15th November this year, which very much plants a stake in the ground for the Oscars this time next year. No word yet on when we can expect it in the UK, but hopefully we’ll see it before the year’s end, too. For now, here’s the first still from the film, followed by the official press release.
LOS ANGELES, CA (January 22, 2013) – Principal photography has begun on the WikiLeaks drama “The Fifth Estate,” it was announced today by DreamWorks Studios. The film about the controversial website stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange and Daniel Brühl as Daniel Domscheit-Berg, as well as Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Peter Capaldi, Dan Stevens, Alicia Vikander and Carice van Houten.
“The Fifth Estate” will open in U.S. theaters on November 15, 2013 and be distributed domestically by Disney’s Touchstone label. Distribution internationally will be split among Disney, DreamWorks partner Reliance, and deals made through the studio’s partnership with Mister Smith Entertainment.
Following Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Brühl), an early supporter and eventual colleague of Julian Assange (Cumberbatch), “The Fifth Estate” traces the heady, early days of WikiLeaks, culminating in the release of a series of controversial and history changing information leaks. The website’s overnight success brought instant fame to its principal architects and transformed the flow of information to news media and the world at large.
Joining DreamWorks as a co-financier on “The Fifth Estate” is Participant Media. This will be the fifth collaboration between the two companies who previously partnered on Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” the 2011 Academy Award-winning smash “The Help,” “The Kite Runner” and “The Soloist.” With a focus on real issues that shape our lives, Participant creates social action and advocacy programs to transform the impact of the media experience into individual and community action. Some of their other films include “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Good Night, and Good Luck,” “Food, Inc.,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Waiting for ‘’Superman,’” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and the current Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, “No.”
Bill Condon (“Kinsey,” “Dreamgirls,” “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”) will direct “The Fifth Estate” from a screenplay by Josh Singer (TV’s “Fringe,” “The West Wing”), based on “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. The producers are Steve Golin and Michael Sugar, with Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King joining Richard Sharkey as executive producers. “The Fifth Estate” is a coproduction between Afterworks and FBO, with Hilde De Laere co-producing for FBO. The film is supported by the Belgian Tax Shelter for Audiovisual Production.
Said director Bill Condon, “It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it’s revolutionized the spread of information. So this film won’t claim any long view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment. We want to explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information age and, we hope, enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked.”