Actor Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed the note WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sent him, urging him to reconsider playing himself in new film The Fifth Estate, helped him perfect the character.

The email Assange sent the British star at the beginning of the year (13), after learning he had been cast as the lead in the biopic, was posted on the WikiLeaks website earlier this week (beg07Oct13), and now Cumberbatch admits it had a big impact on him.

In an interview on content-sharing website Reddit on Friday (11Oct13), the actor said he was initially concerned about portraying Assange after the Australian declined an invitation to meet Cumberbatch and urged him to walk away from the film.

He said, "To have the man you are about to portray ask you intelligently and politely not to do it gave me real cause for concern, however, it galvanised me into addressing why I was doing this movie."

Responding directly to Assange's claim that the actor was little more than a "hired gun", the Brit added, "He accuses me of being a hired gun as if I am an easily-bought cypher for right-wing propaganda. Not only do I Not operate in a moral vacuum but this was not a pay day for me at all.

"I wanted to create a three-dimensional portrait of a man far more maligned in the tabloid press than he is in our film to remind people that he is not just the weird, white haired Australian dude wanted in Sweden, hiding in an embassy behind Harrods."

The WikiLeaks founder has been living at the Ecuadorean embassy in London for more than a year after being given political asylum. He faces immediate arrest and extradition to Sweden to face accusations of rape and sexual assault if he leaves the building.