Another day, another Benedict Cumberbatch trailer. Yesterday it was 12 Years a Slave; today it’s the trailer for The Fifth Estate, starring Cumberbatch as notorious WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The movie is directed by Bill Condon, with a screenplay based in part on the book by former Wikileaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World’s Most Dangerous Website. In addition to Cumberbatch who seems to be pretty much everywhere these days, the movie stars Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis and Cousin MatthewDan Stevens.
As for whether the film will be pro- or anti-WikiLeaks, the trailer seems to play both sides. However, Assange himself has claimed to have read the script and called the movie a “lie upon lie” and a “massive propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the character of [his] staff.” Assange also refused to meet with Cumberbatch while he was preparing to play the role, though the two did email back and forth. Cumberbatch has, himself, made positive comments regarding Assange, saying “Assange made the most extraordinary contributions to human history by treating the Internet as a democracy.”
The film’s title is a reference to the name online journalists have given themselves, distinguishing them from the traditional media — the fourth estate. It’s due out in October, right in the middle of awards season.