With Cumberbatch set to play WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, McAvoy is in talks to play Daniel Domscheit-Berg, whose book “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website” will serve as the basis for the pic along with DreamWorks’ other acquisition “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy,” by U.K. reporters David Leigh and Luke Harding. Josh Singer will adapt.
Joel Kinnaman (“The Killing”) had been rumored for the part of Domscheit-Berg but those reports proved premature.
Assange launched whistleblowing website WikiLeaks in 2006 and began antagonizing world governments by leaking embarrassing diplomatic cables and other state secrets, prompting the U.S. to seek to prosecute the polarizing figure.
Domscheit-Berg began working with WikiLeaks after meeting Assange at the Chaos Computer Club’s annual conference in 2007, eventually becoming a spokesperson for the organization. Assange recruited Domscheit-Berg because he had been burned by some hacker friends when he was younger and the German tech guru seemed like someone he could trust.
The charismatic Assange seduced Domscheit-Berg with his ideology, promising the two could cause real change in the world via WikiLeaks. Assange is expected to be portrayed as a noble crusader who eventually becomes drunk with power as he grows increasingly paranoid and obsessed with winning the “war of information.”
Though he rose to become Assange’s right-hand man at WikiLeaks, Domscheit-Berg left due to his belief that Assange failed to display journalistic integrity. His split from WikiLeaks was widely credited by news outlets as being one of the incidents that led Assange to release more than a quarter-million U.S. diplomatic cables. In his book, Domscheit-Berg criticizes Assange’s leadership style and handling of the Afghan War Diaries. In September 2010, Domscheit-Berg founded OpenLeaks with the intention of being more transparent than WikiLeaks, though the project has failed to have the same impact.
Steve Golin, Michael Sugar and Bard Dorros will produce the pic for Anonymous Content, and production will start next year. Start date will be built around McAvoy’s upcoming schedule, which includes Bryan Singer’s superhero sequel “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”
Thesp will soon be seen in Danny Boyle’s “Trance” and a feature adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel “Filth,” as well as IFC Films’ thriller “Welcome to the Punch.” He also recently wrapped two-part drama “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” with Jessica Chastain.
McAvoy is repped by UTA and United Agents.