Wikileaks Movie ‘The Fifth Estate’ Gets a Title & Release Date

Published 2 years ago by

 Wikileaks Movie The Fifth Estate Gets a Title & Release DateIt’s shaping up to be a big year for Benedict Cumberbatch. Already a fan favorite for his starring role in BBC’s Sherlock, Cumberbatch is set to appear in numerous big-name pictures in 2013 – including Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (as the voice of the titular dragon), and a possible major star-making turn in Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Recent news indicates that not only will Cumberbatch be a blockbuster fixture in 2013, he will also be joining the annual awards race in the long-rumored Wikileaks film directed by Bill Condon (Twilight: Breaking Dawn). Now officially titled The Fifth Estate, the movie has been announced to be arriving late this autumn – just in time for serious Oscar contention.

Screen Daily reports that the now-named The Fifth Estate will open in theaters on November 15th. The film boasts a screenplay adapted by Josh Singer (Fringe) from two books: Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website by Daniel Domscheit-Berg – and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy by Luke Harding.

The Fifth Estate will see Cumberbatch sporting pale blonde locks as the much celebrated/reviled muckraker, Julian Assange, as he uncovers and distributes state secrets from around the world. The screenplay apparently follows the formation and flowering of the WikiLeaks Website, and the various plots and skullduggeries Assange engaged in to make hundreds of government documents public knowledge. Though it’s unclear just how much of Assange’s life and works the film will cover, one can safely assume that it will tackle the various legal issues that deep-sixed his career as a social crusader.

In addition to Cumberbatch, The Fifth Estate‘s cast looks to include quite a bit of top-notch talent. David Bruhl (Inglourious Basterds) co-stars as Inside WikiLeaks author Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Also appearing in the film are David Thewlis (RED 2), Laura Linney (The Big C), Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones), and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey).

The Fifth Estate‘s release date places it solidly within Oscar season, leading to speculation that Dreamworks SKG is grooming the film for full-on prestige status. Cumberbatch is a serious up-and-comer, heading a talented (if not name-recognition-heavy) ensemble. Since Julian Assange is such a recognizable person and personality, it will be Cumberbatch’s movie to carry – which, shouldn’t be much of a problem, given his previous work in similarly outsized roles.

The Fifth Estate Julian Assange Wikileaks Movie The Fifth Estate Gets a Title & Release Date

The real-life Julian Assange.

However, other factors cast doubt on whether The Fifth Estate can distinguish itself enough to nab any statues come 2014. It’s already drawing comparisons to The Social Network for its attempt to turn the tale of a website and its eccentric founder into dramatic entertainment. As a director, Bill Condon often makes movies that are stately but somewhat sedate – as such, can Condon bring the kind of intrigue and energy to WikiLeaks that David Fincher brought to Facebook?

Furthermore, primary screenwriter Josh Singer’s career has entirely been in long-form television, raising question as to whether he has the chops to compress the sprawling account of espionage and rogue journalism into a digestible couple of hours. Granted, the shows Singer has worked on give him a good background for scripting a political drama/thriller like The Fifth Estate; he’s written for The West Wing, Lie to Me, and Fringe.

Whatever its final form, The Fifth Estate could shape up to be one of 2013’s more intriguing films. With an undeniably talented cast and crew, solid source material, and a plot featuring one of recent history’s most controversial features, the story of WikiLeaks will be something that we at Screen Rant will keep many eyes on.

The Fifth Estate shall reveal all on November 15, 2013.

Source: Screen Daily/ONTD (via IndieWire)

Follow Kyle Hembree on Twitter @ProjectNightHam
TAGS: Wikileaks
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  1. Cumberbatch doesn’t quite look like Assange, and the long hair somehow looks… weirdly hip on him, quite unlike how it looked when Assange wore is that way.

    But still, it’s Cumberbatch, and regardless of the script or story quality I’ll at least be interested in seeing how he does the character. Seems we can’t really peg this as a serious Oscar contender till we actually see it, though.

    And having seen The Social Network, I have this irrational hope that Aaron Sorkin will come in and help with the script. I know Fincher directed that movie well, but it really was Sorkin’s script that sold it.

  2. I wonder if we’ll have a rape scene set in a Swedish hotel room…

    Anyway, I’d be interested in this but I’d avoid it more than likely. Bringing The Social Network into the article also reminded me why I refuse to watch that movie too because like The Social Network, I can see this movie being a sort of “hey, look at this hero!” type of film while avoiding the negative stuff or changing history (like how history was changed to make Zuckerberg out to be a genius when all he did was steal someone else’s idea and coding and make billions off it).

    • I agree. I hope they don’t attempt to applaud Assange. I think the Social Network was well done and didn’t take sides. It allowed the audience to decide for themselves how they feel about Zuckerberg.

    • But The Social Network *wasn’t* that sort of film. If anything lots of people thought it highlighted the ‘Zuckerberg stole the idea’ aspect of the story rather than make him out to be a genius.

      Although I personally think that the film is objectively rather fair to both sides – it made Zuckerberg flawed and implied he stole the idea, but also made him quite human and not at all a particularly bad person. I’ve heard people come up with different takeaways from the film, despite the initial reaction being what I said (that it was anti-Zuckerberg).

      But I do get your concern, if they just make this Wikileaks film a sort of pro-vigilante plug for Assange, I’ll be pretty turned off. I think the whole debate over whether it was right or wrong is part of the appeal that the story should take on.

      • See, I didn’t see The Social Network and have no desire to due to reading and listening to things Zuckerberg has said over the years that make me think he’s a total d-bag.

        • Well what I’m saying is that if you don’t like him, you’ll probably like The Social Network. I don’t really think you can equate your dislike of him to disliking the film, because he wasn’t involved in its making or anything. I mean, I’m not trying to sell you the film, but it’s not at all like what you seem to think it is.

  3. I like Benedict Cumberbatch a whole lot but this film really doesn’t appeal to me… He frankly seems a little wasted in a role that won’t really show him at his best.

    • Why? Doesn’t that seem a bit premature?

  4. The actor’s name is Daniel Bruehl, not David Bruhl.

  5. If it weren’t for Cumberbatch, I’d have to wait and watch the leaked screener. Would be the only respectful thing to do given the movies subject. For Cumberbatch though… I’ll pay.

  6. Benedict Cumberbatch stole the show as Stephen Hawking; let’s see what he does with this.

    I’d be very interested in working with him someday when I get into film.