The Fifth Estate Julian Assange Biopic Already Drawing Controversy

Genre fans may be interested in The Fifth Estate, the biopic of Julian Assange, for several reasons. Number one, Assange is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and number two, the movie was directed by Bill Condon. Yes, he directed Dreamgirls, as well as one of the Twilight movies, but he’s also a big genre fan who helmed Gods and Monsters, a terrific movie about Frankenstein director James Whale. 

In reviewing The Fifth Estate, the Hollywood Reporter felt the movie was average, but Cumberbatch’s performance was a stand out. The New York Times tells us that five movies about Assange were in development at one point, and as Alex Gibney, the director of the Assange documentary We Steal Secrets, said, “It’s pretty hard to resist the story of a guy roaming the world armed with nothing more than his laptop.” 

Assange himself is not happy about the movie, and Condon told the Times, “For a public figure, he is one of the most thin-skinned subjects I have ever seen. He believes and advocates for transparency, except where he is concerned. He doesn’t realize it, but he has become the consummate tragic hero who sowed the seeds of his own demise.” 

In the meanwhile, Cumberbatch told Radar he’s “thrilled” with the movie, and that Condon “has made a beautiful film – ‘it’s incredibly balanced. And what it should do is ignite a debate – that’s exactly what should happen. And hopefully it will do that.”