Bill Condon has spent the last few years wading around in Twilight territory, but now that he has both halves of Breaking Dawn under his belt, he's ready to return to making the sort of high-profile, real-life dramas he's known for.
If the first trailer for The Fifth Estate suggests anything, it's that Condon feels very passionate about his story, which is that of WikiLeaks founder and controversial journalist/activist Julian Assange; there's a possibility that he feels too strongly, as the clip hints at a film that will almost certainly receive polarized audience reactions.
The Fifth Estate looks to cover a great deal of ground in the life of Assange and WikiLeaks, rather than focusing on the events which brought the whistleblower and his website to international attention in 2010. What's less clear is how the film will dramatize those incidents.
Here's the official synopsis:
Following Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Brühl), an early supporter and eventual colleague of Julian Assange (Cumberbatch), “The Fifth Estate” traces the heady, early days of WikiLeaks, culminating in the release of a series of controversial and history changing information leaks. The website’s overnight success brought instant fame to its principal architects and transformed the flow of information to news media and the world at large.
Condon has assembled a phenomenal cast to his cause here, and wherever viewers fall on The Fifth Estate's politics, there's a good chance everyone will be able to agree on acting. Most notable, of course, is Benedict Cumberbatch, whose 2013 began with Star Trek Into Darkness and will end with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (with The Fifth Estate and 12 Years a Slave serving as buffers between them), portraying Assange himself. This could be the film that gets him the most awards exposure this year, but time will tell on that score.
He's joined by Daniel Bruhl, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, Stanely Tucci, David Thewlis, Peter Capaldi, and Carice van Houten, each playing roles both real (Bruhl plays Assange's WikiLeaks cohort Daniel Domscheit-Berg, while Thewlis plays British investigative journalist Nick Davies) and imagined (Linney, Mackie, and Tucci appear to be playing either fictitious characters or composites). Even if The Fifth Estate ends up playing loose with facts or painting a biased portrait of Assange, the film should showcase some stand-out work by these outstanding performers, and it may be worth seeing on those grounds alone.
We'll know for sure in a few months from now. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer as well as the above photo gallery.
The Fifth Estate releases in US theaters on October 11, 2013.