Assange: WikiLeaks biopic is ‘anti-Iranian propaganda’
Julian Assange appears at Oxford Union (via video link) brandishing script of ‘The Fifth Estate’
WHEN the first pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch playing Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate were released yesterday, the general public weren’t the only ones who reacted with shock and dismay. Assange himself has condemned the forthcoming film, saying in a speech delivered via video link to the Oxford Union last night that it was "propaganda" against both his organisation and Iran.
The 41-year-old, who is currently holed up in London’s Ecuadorian embassy as he fights Swedish sex assault allegations, brandished a copy of the script he claimed to have acquired.
He called the film "a massive propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the character of my staff", according to the Daily Telegraph. He said the opening scene showed Iran developing an atomic weapon and as such represented "not just an attack against us - it is an attack against Iran. It fans the flames to start a war with Iran", AP notes
The Fifth Estate is directed by Bill Condon, who made the Twilight Saga film Breaking Dawn. The cast includes Laura Linney, David Thewlis and Peter Capaldi as well as Cumberbatch, best known for playing Sherlock Holmes.
Condon said yesterday that the film aimed to "enliven and enrich" the discussion about WikiLeaks. "It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it’s revolutionised the spread of information. So this film won't claim any long-view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment."
Variety says the film is expected to portray Assange as "a noble crusader who eventually becomes drunk with power as he grows increasingly paranoid and obsessed with winning the 'war of information'."