Benedict Cumberbatch was addressing the aud about his experience working on the film at Oct. 11’s Cinema Society screening of his new DreamWorks film “The Fifth Estate” when someone’s mobile went off.
“Julian’s calling. He’s saying, ‘Walk out of the cinema now! It’s all lies!” he joked.
The film, based upon two novels by David Leigh and Daniel Domscheit-Berg, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s former right hand man, tells the story from Domscheit-Berg’s perspective, which Assange has made perfectly clear in recent days that he does not agree with, having posted an open letter to the site sent to Cumberbatch in January urging him not to do the film.
“I’ve said everything I’ve had to say to him,” Cumberbatch said at the New Marlton Hotel. “We have an open line of communication. I’m fine with keeping that private. He can do what he likes.”
Cumberbatch said he had to wear three different wigs, “uncomfortable” fake teeth and fake contact lenses to physically transform into Assange and he found the end result “pretty spooky to start off with.”
“It was like, ‘Oh okay. You really do look like him. Maybe we can take you to the embassy and you can spring him out.’ And I said, ‘Well, where does that leave me? Am I going to then be incarcerated in a converted bathroom behind Harrod’s for the rest of my life?’” he said.
“Assange, to me, is fascinating because he is forcing us to have a conversation about the nature of our democracy that is necessary,” said Dreamworks’ Stacey Snider. “And regardless of your politics, regardless on where you come out on the issue of privacy, transparency, national security, the issue about what kind of democracy we’re going to have seems essential for everybody, and he provoked that conversation.”