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

    Video US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs

    African Music Treasures