"The Fifth Estate" kicked off the 38th Toronto Film Festival on Thursday night, September 5. Stealing attention with his handsome look right when he walked down the red carpet, Benedict Cumberbatch in a classic tailored tuxedo greeted fans at the premiere of his new movie that features him as Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder.
Cumberbatch joined director Bill Condon on the red carpet along with several supporting actors in the political drama including Dan Stevens, Alicia Vikander, Carice van Houten and Daniel Bruhl. Michael Sugar and Steve Golin, who serve as producers, were also in attendance.
"I can see the evidence that this is a people's festival," Cumberbatch said to the audience. Condon took the opportunity to talk about his latest directing gig. "I had wanted to do a political film for a long time," he admitted. "What was rich about this story is it deals with an area of privacy and transparency in an Internet age and about what secrets are too important not to tell."
To be released October 11 in the U.S., "The Fifth Estate" is partly based on Daniel Domscheit-Berg's book "Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World's Most Dangerous Website" and "WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy" by British journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding.
Josh Singer, who adapted the Assange story, talked about him being courted by DreamWorks to work on the script. "Deciding to take a shot, I spent the weekend with some college buddies, trying to get my head around how to cover the [WikiLeaks] issues and make it entertaining," Singer said. "I hope we've done that."
The world premiere was preceded by a tribute to Roger Ebert, with the film critic's widow Chaz accepting a memorial plaque. "Roger Ebert was a huge presence at our festival for 30 years. He was one of the key people who put us on the map," Piers Handling, CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival Group, said.
"As you can imagine, it's bittersweet being here tonight. I'm so grateful ... that the festival he so loved is honoring him," Chaz said.