Whether you feel he’s been unfairly vindicated or villainized for his actions, there’s no doubt that the now Nobel Peace Prize-nominated founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has certainly made an impact on the current political atmosphere. That’s why it’s less than surprisingly to learn that Hollywood is circling his life like a shark drawn to blood, so to speak.
Among the increasing number of in-development cinematic projects related to Assange/Wikileaks is one that actually looks to become a reality – a film scripted by Mark Boal, the man who won two Academy-Awards for his work on Katherine Bigelow’s high-octane war flick, The Hurt Locker.
Boal’s screenplay would be based off the New York Times Magazine Wikileaks article “The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” the title of which appropriately references another skillful (albeit, fictional) computer hacker – Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – whose methods would be rather controversial in real life. One of the screenwriter’s upcoming new collaborations with Bigelow, Triple Frontier, is a potential obstacle that could restrict him to handling production duties on the Wikileaks movie only.
True Grit executive producer Megan Ellison is working with Boal and Management 360 on the movie that Deadline indicates could emerge ahead of every other Wikileaks project in development – much like All the President’s Men was the eventual winner in Hollywood’s contest to turn the Watergate scandal into cinematic gold back in the 1970s.
Other prospectives in the race to bring Assange’s story to the big screen first include DreamWorks, which is eying the screen rights to the upcoming book Inside Wikileaks by the organization’s former second-in-command, Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Universal is already pulling ahead on the non-fiction side of things, as it’s set to distribute an already in-progress, non-dramatized work from the Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) about Assange.
Boal was widely praised for delivering a Hurt Locker screenplay that captured the essence and nerve-shredding nature of modern warfare without being too preachy or heavy-handed – in order words, scripting a film that generally allowed moviegoers to make up their own minds about the subject matter being examined. That’s exactly the kind of touch needed to successfully recreate the tale of Assange, who some see as a brave man who keeps the U.S. government honest by uncovering its dirty laundry – and others see as a recklessly destructive figure who ought to be imprisoned for his actions.
A film about Assange also has the potential to be an interesting character study, as the fellow has been described as brave, fearless, arrogant, and interested solely in his own benefit – not to mention the recent charges of sexual misconduct against him, which may either be legitimate or just slander. He’s a polarizing character, there’s no denying that.
Be sure to share your thoughts about a Wikileaks movie (and please, try to keep them civil) with us in the comments section below.