The trailer for the Julian Assange biopic The Fifth Estate, with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the platinum-tressed WikiLeaks founder, hit the Internet today. (Presumably it was officially released, but there’d be some measure of justice in it if the thing just happened to find its way onto the Internet.)
The two-and-a-half-minute trailer provides a glimpse into the life of the controversial leaker turned accused rapist turned guy who sleeps in a small embassy in London and despite Assange’s denouncement of the project, the film seems to paint him at least partially in a sympathetic light: Cumberbatch gives a speech to an adoring crowd about toppling oppressive regimes with the power of one moral man, and we see him celebrating the victory of bringing down an Icelandic fraudster. "Some call him a visionary," a title card reads, "Some call him a traitor"--but the trailer seems to come down on the side of the former.
Meanwhile, Anthony Mackie and Stanley Tucci glower behind desks and in front of flags, lamenting the threat to national security that Assange presents and the subsequent need to crush him. It’s a fairly exciting-looking trailer for a film about a guy who, in reality, largely performed his activism by posting things on a website, and whose eventual criminal charges involved the sexual assault of two women in Sweden. The Bill Condon-directed film also stars Daniel Bruhl as former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg and was adapted by Josh Singer (The West Wing) from Domscheit-Berg’s book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website and David Leigh and Luke Harding’s WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy.
Assange is a compelling character, for sure, and it’s easy to see why his story attracted Hollywood interest. It’ll be interesting to see if the trailer’s techno-thriller trappings are accurate to the story The Fifth Estate ultimately tells--but in either case, Edward Snowden must be pretty jealous right now.
The film is in theaters October 18.