News / Arts & Entertainment

Assange Slams Wikileaks Film in Letter to Actor Benedict Cumberbatch

FILE - Julian Assange speaks during a teleconference between London and Washington.
FILE - Julian Assange speaks during a teleconference between London and Washington.
Reuters
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange penned an open letter to British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who portrays Assange in an upcoming film, praising the actor's talents but slamming his involvement with the film and turning down the actor's invitation to meet in person.
 
Assange, who is currently holed up at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, wrote a letter to Cumberbatch dated Jan. 15, 2013, that was published on Wednesday on the anti-secrecy website ahead of the Oct. 18 theatrical release of Walt Disney Co's DreamWorks film “The Fifth Estate”.
 
In the letter, Assange tells Cumberbatch he is “fond” of the actor's previous work, and adds “I think I would enjoy meeting you,” but urged the actor to drop his involvement in the film, saying “I do not believe it is going to be positive for me or the people I care about.”
 
“I know the film intends to depict me and my work in a negative light. I believe it will distort events and subtract from public understanding. It does not seek to simplify, clarify or distil the truth, but rather it seeks to bury it. It will resurrect and amplify defamatory stories which were long ago shown to be false,” Assange wrote.
 
The enigmatic WikiLeaks founder turned down Cumberbatch's invitation to meet ahead of shooting for the film, citing his issues with the film's angle of his own story.
 
“I believe you are well-intentioned, but surely you can see why it is a bad idea for me to meet with you. By meeting with you, I would validate this wretched film, and endorse the talented, but debauched, performance that the script will force you to give,” Assange said.
 
Assange also noted that “the bond that develops between an actor and a living subject is significant,” and that if Cumberbatch was to take the role, “we will forever be correlated in the public imagination. Our paths will be forever entwined.”
 
A press release accompanying the letter on WikiLeaks on Wednesday said that Cumberbatch had replied to Assange with a “courteous and considered” email.
 
Cumberbatch, 37, plays the WikiLeaks founder as rude, awkward and unkempt in the film that chronicles the emergence of WikiLeaks, based in part on the 2011 book, “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website,” by Assange's once-trusted lieutenant Daniel Domscheit-Berg.
 
Ecuador has given Assange political asylum in its embassy in London, where he sought refuge in June 2012, but he faces immediate arrest and extradition to Sweden to face accusations of rape and sexual assault if he leaves the embassy.
 
Assange criticized the film's source material, saying, “It is based on a deceitful book by someone who has a vendetta against me and my organization.”
 
At the film's premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last month, director Bill Condon said “The Fifth Estate” was not a judgment about WikiLeaks or Assange, but rather a portrayal of the complex issues surrounding transparency, privacy and security.
 
“There is no takeaway or single right or wrong,” Condon told Reuters at the film's premiere. “I hope people walk away and go to dinner to talk about it.”
 
Cumberbatch also spoke to reporters in Toronto and said he was guessing Assange wouldn't like his portrayal in the film, even though the actor sees it as a celebration of the activist's achievements.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

Singer Leyla McCalla takes up not only the guitar, but the banjo and cello to perform songs from her new disc, “A Tribute to Langston Hughes,” music that mixes the Creole rhythms of Haiti with the French Quarter flavor of New Orleans on this edition of "The Hamilton Live."