WikiLeaks strikes back. The controversial whistleblower website has leaked the script of "The Fifth Estate", a movie about the website's creation and its founder Julian Assange. The site brands the movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch "irresponsible, counterproductive and harmful."
"Most of the events depicted never happened, or the people shown were not involved in them," reads the memo. "It has real names, real places, and looks like it is covering real events, but it is still a dramatic and cinematic work, and it invents or shapes the facts to fit its narrative goals."
The screenplay was penned by Josh Singer ("Fringe", "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"). It's based on a book by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, an early WikiLeaks collaborator who later fell out with Assange; and another book by British journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding, whom Assange has been critical of.
Assange called the drama an anti-WikiLeaks movie. He also dissed Cumberbatch's attempt at Australian accent. "We're all used to foreign actors trying to do Australian accents and it's so grating on the ear," he said. "When you hear a Brit trying to do an Australian accent and your own accent, I can't tell you how grating it is."
Representatives from the movie's studio haven't commented on the leak, but both Cumberbatch and director Bill Condon already knew Assange would be upset. The actor said when attending the Toronto International Film Festival early this month, "I'm not a betting man, but I reckon he won't particularly want to support the film."
Condon was aware that Assange had "the sense of (the film) being something very different than what it is." But he defended the movie, telling the Associated Press, "The idea was to present this incredibly complicated and, as we can see, relevant issue of the struggle in this age between privacy and transparency in all of its complication. And in a similar way, present him in all his complexity."