Benedict Cumberbatch Explains Why He's Playing Julian Assange In Controversial WikiLeaks' Movie

Benedict cumberbatch reddit@5thEstateMovie / TwitterBenedict Cumberbatch defends his decision to take on the role of Julian Assange in ‘The Fifth Estate.’

Earlier this week, WikiLeaks
released a letter founder Julian Assange sent Benedict Cumberbatchback in January.

The actor is playing Assange in the upcoming DreamWorks’ film “The Fifth Estate.”

In the lengthy letter, Assange asked Cumberbatch to pass on the role claiming the film portrayed WikiLeaks in a false light.

Friday, October 11 the actor held a Reddit Ask Me Anything.

In it, a fan asked whether the letter affected the way he portrayed Assange or made him rethink his decision to accept the role.

Cumberbatch replied with a very lengthy response saying how important it was to play the part honestly.

Here’s Cumberbatch’s full response below:

“Yes, of course it did. 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. 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’ve worked far less hard for more financial reward. This project was important to me because of the integrity I wanted to bring to provocative difficult but ultimately timely and a truly important figure of our modern times. The idea of making a movie about someone who so far removed from my likeness or situation who brought about an ideal through personal sacrifice that has changed the way we view both social media, the power of the individual to have a voice in that space, and be able to question both the hypocrisies and wrongdoings of organisations and bodies of powerful people that rule our lives… This resonated deeply with my beliefs in civil liberty, a healthy democracy, and the human rights of both communities and individuals to question those in authority. I believe that the film, quite clearly, illuminates the great successes of wikileaks and its extraordinary founder Julian Assange. As well as, examining the personalities involved and what become a dysfunctional relationship within that organisation. While the legacy of his actions and the organisations continue to evolve and only history will be the true judge of where this is leading us. The Fifth Estate is a powerful, if dramatized, entry point for a discussion about this extraordinary lurch forward in our society. 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. But a true force to be reckoned with, achieved the realisation of the great ideal. I’m proud to be involved in tackling such a contentious character and script. There is only personal truth in my opinion, and the film should provoke debate and not consensus. It should be enjoyable and ultimately empowering to realise that Julian has spearheaded a movement that is the foundations stone of The Fifth Estate, people journalism and what that is capable of including finding out the “truth” for yourself.”

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