The star of the upcoming WikiLeaks biopic Benedict Cumberbatch thinks that Julian Asange won't enjoy the upcoming movie, as he also launches a defence of the character he portrays
Despite not being released for another few months, Benedict Cumberbatch is already generating an Oscar buzz for his portrayal of WikiLeaks founder Julian Asange in The Fifth Estate. However good his acting is though, Cumberbatch reckons that Asange won't be appreciative of the film depiction of his achievements with WikiLeaks as he delivered a defensive statement about Asange at opening of the Toronto Film Festival on Friday, 6 September.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Asange in the film The Fifth Estate
"I'm not a betting man, but I reckon he won't particularly want to support the film," he told reporters at the opening of his film. The Sherlock star also went on to comment on the positives that Asange and his WikiLeaks compatriots undertook in their controversial leaking of confidential documents through their site, and how he tried to portray Asange with compassion, rather than turn him into some kind of villain. Director Bill Condon was supportive of this portrayal, and he too went on to discuss the heroics that Asange performed.
"I think there's a lot to celebrate about his achievements," Cumberbatch told reporters, before telling them that he first empathised with Asange as a person before filming; something that was key to his interpretation of his character.
"I think to try and go into this realm of thumbs up or thumbs down is so limiting. You want to find what's human about him. And that's not to soften the edges. [But] so it's something we can relate to."
"He's an absolute pioneer," Condon continued during the press conference, "and he's made a huge difference. He opened the door that Edward Snowden just walked through. For all of those reasons I think he's an extremely admirable figure."
The Fifth Estate is based partly on Guardian journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding account of Assange's rise to notoriety across the globe and in particular, his collaboration with the Guardian and other media organisations in publishing thousands of classified governmental files and war reports. It is also based on the account by Daniel Domscheit-Berg; Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website, who was a supproter of WikiLeaks who befriended Asange in the early days of the operation before the rise of the website and before their relationship became volatile.
The film will be released in cinemas in time for awards season at the beginning of 2014.
Cumberbatch (L) with co-stars Laura Linney (M-L), Daniel Brühl (M-R) and David Thewlis (R)