WikiLeaks continues its anti-"The Fifth Estate" campaign. After leaking the movie's script last month, now the whistleblower website posts a private letter sent by Julian Assange to Benedict Cumberbatch. The actor apparently emailed the site's founder requesting to meet in-person to prepare for his gig of portraying the controversial journalist before principal photography in January this year.
"Thank you for trying to contact me. It is the first approach by anyone from the Dreamworks production to me or WikiLeaks," Assange began his letter. "I think I would enjoy meeting you." He, however, added, "I thank you for your offer, and what I am sure is your genuine intent, but I must, with inexpressible regret, turn it down."
"The bond that develops between an actor and a living subject is significant. If the film reaches distribution we will forever be correlated in the public imagination. Our paths will be forever entwined. Each of us will be granted standing to comment on the other for many years to come and others will compare our characters and trajectories."
"But I must speak directly," the Australian journalist added. "I believe you are a good person, but I do not believe that this film is a good film. I do not believe it is going to be positive for me or the people I care about. I believe that it is going to be overwhelmingly negative for me and the people I care about."
"There are dozens of positive books about WikiLeaks, but Dreamworks decided to base its script only on the most toxic," he went on. "It does not seek to simplify, clarify or distil the truth, but rather it seeks to bury it. It will resurrect and amplify defamatory stories which were long ago shown to be false."
"Feature films are the most powerful and insidious shapers of public perception, because they fly under the radar of conscious exclusion. This film is going to bury good people doing good work, at exactly the time that the state is coming down on their heads. It is going to smother the truthful version of events, at a time when the truth is most in demand."
"You will be used, as a hired gun, to assume the appearance of the truth in order to assassinate it. To present me as someone morally compromised and to place me," he insisted, before urging Cumberbatch to leave the movie, "I believe that you should reconsider your involvement in this enterprise."
"I believe you are well intentioned but surely you can see why it is a bad idea for me to meet with you," he reasoned. "By meeting with you, I would validate this wretched film, and endorse the talented, but debauched, performance that the script will force you to give."
According to WikiLeaks, "Cumberbatch's reply to this email was courteous and considered. The actor communicated to Assange that aspects of the film's script were troubling to him."
Depicting WikiLeaks' creation and its founder Julian Assange, the movie directed by Bill Condon is slated to hit theaters in the U.S. on October 18.
The screenplay was penned by Josh Singer ("Fringe", "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"), 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.