Will Benedict Cumberbatch play Julian Assange in biopic?

Sherlock actor appears to have overtaken Jeremy Renner in running to play WikiLeaks founder

LAST UPDATED AT 15:49 ON Wed 3 Oct 2012

JULIAN ASSANGE might be holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London avoiding extradition – but Hollywood's main concern appears to be who will play him in an upcoming biopic.

Dreamworks studio has acquired the rights to remake the books WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War On Secrecy, by David Leigh and Luke Harding, and Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World's Most Dangerous Website, written by Assange’s former right-hand man Daniel Domscheit-Berg.

Rumour has it that Benedict Cumberbatch is in line to play the WikiLeaks founder. According to Hollywood news site Deadline, the Sherlock actor appears to have usurped Jeremy Renner, star of The Bourne Legacy, as favourite for the role.

"When it comes to casting biopics you can either go for similarities in appearance or you can go for acting talent so good that it would negate any aesthetic difference," says CinemaBlend. If the Cumberbatch rumours are true, then Dreamworks has "magically found an actor who has both".

But The Guardian points out that he has so much work on his plate that fans of BBC's Sherlock may be wondering how he plans to fit series three into his schedule.

He has signed up to play the villain in the Star Trek film Into Darkness and will play Smaug in Peter Jackson's upcoming Hobbit trilogy. He will also star in the film adaptation of August: Osage County, opposite Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, and in Steve McQueen's Twelve Years a Slave.

Deadline says Joel Kinnaman, recently cast as the new RoboCop, could play Domscheit-Berg, while the man behind the Twilight sagas, Bill Condon, is set to direct. Dreamworks is yet to confirm its director or cast.

The film was previously reported to be pitched somewhere between The Social Network and All the President's Men and is by no means the only studio looking to portray the controversial whistleblower. Others include an Australian TV movie, in which Anthony LaPaglia plays a cop tracking the young Assange as he embarks on his early career as a hacker, and a second TV film from HBO. · 

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