Fifth Estate Actor Responds to Julian Assange Open Letter About Movie


Forget about the feud between popular late night tee vee host Jimmy Kimmel, and self proclaimed cultural genius Kanye West.


Even though we agree with all the producer, rapper, fashionista and new dad says about himself and our society, we find what is brewing between the Australian activist journalist, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, and the British tee vee and film actor, Benedict Cumberbatch who portrays Assange in the new film from Dreamworks ** “Fifth Estate”, far more interesting.






It isn’t so much a dispute between the two men, as the fact Assange, an Australian citizen, who is the subject of the film, has withheld his blessing on the Hollyweird project about his ill-named “traitorous” actions as regards the disclosure of documents and videos, various governments around the world, including our own United States government, would rather not have us see or know about.

According to the establishment Julian Assange is, directly or indirectly responsible, depending on who’s talking, for the confinement of  former Army Private Bradley Manning; a person sentenced by the military to thirty-five years for his/her transgression, now living his life as a woman named Chelsea in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas for  divulging so-called secrets to Assange and company. Assange/WikiLeaks also assisted Ed Snowden with his departure from the U.S. to successfully helping him to obtain his asylum in Russia.

The man, Assange, is so vilified, so reviled by world leaders we wonder why anyone would make a film about him. (??)

**Fifth Estate is defined in the dictionary as any class or group in society other than the nobility, the clergy, the middle class, and the press.

According to Wikipedia , the term  has no fixed meaning, but is used — following a formulation that dates back to the 18th century — to describe any class or group in society other than the clergy (First Estate), the nobility (Second Estate), the commoners (Third Estate), and the press (Fourth Estate). It has been used to describe civil society (including trade unions) and the poor or the proletariat. It can also be used to describe media outlets (including the blogosphere) that see themselves in opposition to mainstream media (the official Press the Fourth Estate).

Last week prior to the film’s opening in the United Kingdom; look for it in cities around the U.S. on October 18, 2013, WikiLeaks published a letter written by Assange sent earlier this year to the actor Benedict Cumberbatch.  Cumberbatch invited Assange to meet with him, since he is portraying Assange in the movie. The subject of Cumberbatch’s role declined the invitation in the aforementioned letter with myriad reasons why he would not meet with the actor, lest it be seen as his approval of the content of the film.

Benedict Cumberbatch commented on the WikiLeaks founder’s letter in an online Reddit sponsored Ask Me Anything session last Friday, October 11, 2013. Here is what he said:

“… 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 galvanized 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 organizations 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 Julians Assange. As well as, examining the personalities involved and what become a dysfunctional relationship within that organization. While the legacy of his actions and the organizations 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 realization 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 realize 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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