Full of ominous phrases, like “You should reconsider your involvement in this enterprise,” Julian Assange’s email to Benedict Cumberbatch has been released, showing the extent to which the WikiLeaks founder attempted to halt production of the movie, The Fifth Estate.

benedict cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch protrays Julian Assange in 'The Fifth Estate'

Entitled, ‘Message from Assange,’ which has a certain terrifying quality to it, Assange goes on to compliment Cumberbatch, saying he thinks the actor is a good man, and that he would like to meet him one day. But the thrust of the message is aimed at derailing the movie based on him, his website and his rivalry with Daniel Domscheit-Berg, played by Daniel Bruhl. “But I must speak directly,” Assange continued. The email has been quoted by many sources, including The Wrap, who published it in full. 

“I believe you are a good person, but I do not believe that this film is a good film.” He added: “I do not believe it is going to be positive for me or the people I care about. I believe that it is going to be overwhelmingly negative for me and the people I care about.”

Assange probably wasn’t referencing the poor critical response to the movie when he said he didn’t believe the Fifth Estate was a “good film,” – he was aiming his vitriol towards the integrity of the script compared to real life events. However, unfortunately for Cumberbatch, he may be right on both fronts, as the film faired awfully when the reviews were filed.

Watch the Fifth Estate trailer

“You will be used, as a hired gun, to assume the appearance of the truth in order to assassinate it. To present me as someone morally compromised and to place me in a falsified history. To create a work, not of fiction, but of debased truth,” said Assange to Cumberbatch, whose portrayal of the Australian Whistle-blower has been praised despite the film’s shortcomings.

“Not because you want to, of course you don’t, but because, in the end, you are a jobbing actor who gets paid to follow the script, no matter how debauched. Your skills play into the hands of people who are out to remove me and WikiLeaks from the world. I believe you should reconsider your involvement in this enterprise. Consider the consequences of your cooperation with a project that… marginalises a living political refugee to the benefit of an entrenched, corrupt and dangerous state.”

the fifth estate
The biopic hasn't faired well with the critics

The leak, ironically, of this email paints a fascinating insight into the world of the enigmatic fugitive, who is allegedly sleeping in a converted bathroom while he continues to evade extradition to Sweden under sexual abuse charges. Assange has already criticised the documentary – We Steal Secrets, by Alex Gibney, refusing to grant the film maker an interview for anything less than $1m.