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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 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. 

Cumberbatch's response to Assange's open letter

As DreamWorks’ theatrical trailer for “The Fifth Estate” airs on televisions nationwide, Julian Assange has released his letter to actor Benedict Cumberbatch who emailed Mr. Assange immediately before principal photography, in January 2013. The actor wanted to meet in-person in order to acquire Mr. Assange’s manner. 

RELEASE: Julian Assange Correspondence with The Fi…

Dear Benedict, Thank you for trying to contact me. It is the first approach by anyone from the Dreamworks production to me or WikiLeaks. My assistants communicated your request to me, and I have given it a lot of thought and examined your previous work, which I am fond of. I think I would enjoy meeting you. The bond that develops between an actor and a living subject is significant. If the film reaches distribution we will forever be correlated in the public imagination. Our paths will be forever entwined. Each of us will be granted standing to comment on the other for many years to come and others will compare our characters and trajectories. But I must speak directly. I hope that you will take such directness as a mark of respect, and not as an unkindness. I believe you are a good person, but I do not believe that this film is a good film. I do not believe it is going to be positive for me or the people I care about. I believe that it is going to be overwhelmingly negative for me and the people I care about. It is based on a deceitful book by someone who has a vendetta against me and my organisation. In other circumstances this vendetta may have gone away, but our conflict with the United States government and the establishment press has created a patronage and commissioning market – powerful, if unpopular – for works and comments that are harmful to us. There are dozens of positive books about WikiLeaks, but Dreamworks decided to base its script only on the most toxic. So toxic is the first book selected by Dreamworks that it is distributed to US military bases as a mechanism to discourage military personnel from communicating with us. Its author is publicly known to be involved in the Dreamworks production in an ongoing capacity. Dreamworks' second rights purchase is the next most toxic, biased book. Published and written by people we have had a bitter contractual dispute with for years, whose hostility is well known. Neither of these two books were the first to be published and there are many independent authors who have written positive or neutral books, all of whom Dreamworks ignored. Dreamworks has based its entire production on the two most discredited books on the market. I know the film intends to depict me and my work in a negative light. I believe it will distort events and subtract from public understanding. It does not seek to simplify, clarify or distil the truth, but rather it seeks to bury it. It will resurrect and amplify defamatory stories which were long ago shown to be false. --- My organisation and I are the targets of political adversary from the United States government and its closest allies. The United States government has engaged almost every instrument of its justice and intelligence system to pursue—in its own words—a ‘whole of government’ investigation of ‘unprecedented scale and nature’ into WikiLeaks under draconian espionage laws. Our alleged sources are facing their entire lives in the US prison system. Two are already in it. Another one is detained in Sweden. Feature films are the most powerful and insidious shapers of public perception, because they fly under the radar of conscious exclusion. This film is going to bury good people doing good work, at exactly the time that the state is coming down on their heads. It is going to smother the truthful version of events, at a time when the truth is most in demand. As justification it will claim to be fiction, but it is not fiction. It is distorted truth about living people doing battle with titanic opponents.  It is a work of political opportunism, influence, revenge and, above all, cowardice. It seeks to ride on the back of our work, our reputation and our struggles. It seeks to cut our strength with weakness. To cut affection with exploitation. To cut diligence with paranoia. To cut loyalty with naivety.  To cut principle with hypocrisy. And above all, to cut the truth with lies. The film's many distortions buttress what the prosecution will argue. Has argued. Is arguing. In my case, and in that of others. These cases will continue for years. The studio that is producing the film is not a vulnerable or weak party. Dreamworks' free speech rights are not in jeopardy – ours are. Dreamworks is an extremely wealthy organisation, with ties to powerful interests in the US government. I must therefore question the choices and motives behind it: the opportunism, fears and mundanity; the unwritten rules of film financing and distribution in the United States; the cringe against doing something useful and brave. I believe that you are a decent person, who would not naturally wish to harm good people in dire situations. --- You will be used, as a hired gun, to assume the appearance of the truth in order to assassinate it. To present me as someone morally compromised and to place me in a falsified history. To create a work, not of fiction, but of debased truth. Not because you want to, of course you don't, but because, in the end, you are a jobbing actor who gets paid to follow the script, no matter how debauched. Your skills play into the hands of people who are out to remove me and WikiLeaks from the world.   I believe that you should reconsider your involvement in this enterprise. Consider the consequences of your cooperation with a project that vilifies and marginalises a living political refugee to the benefit of an entrenched, corrupt and dangerous state. Consider the consequences to people who may fall into harm because of this film. Many will fight against history being blackwashed in this way. It is a collective history now, involving millions of people, because millions have opened their eyes as a result of our work and the attempts to destroy us. I believe you are well intentioned but surely you can see why it is a bad idea for me to meet with you. By meeting with you, I would validate this wretched film, and endorse the talented, but debauched, performance that the script will force you to give. I cannot permit this film any claim to authenticity or truthfulness. In its current form it has neither, and doing so would only further aid the campaign against me. It is contrary to my interests, and to those of my organisation, and I thank you for your offer, and what I am sure is your genuine intent, but I must, with inexpressible regret, turn it down. Julian Assange 

First Letter from Julian Assange to Benedict Cumbe…

In this age of information overload, some people just don’t know how to keep a secret. 

10 Things That Should've Remained A Secret

The term "Fifth Estate" 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).[1] 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 term is entirely different in origin and meaning from "Fifth Column", which is used to describe subversive or insurgent elements in a society. 

Definition of Fifth Estate

In today’s digitally-driven democracy, there’s a working community of self-appointed watchdogs promoting transparency from right behind a computer screen. 

7 Forces Of Nature That Have Emerged From The Fift…

The Fifth Estate is a 2013 American thriller film directed by Bill Condon, about the news-leaking website WikiLeaks starring Benedict Cumberbatch as its editor-in-chief and founder Julian Assange, and Daniel Brühl as its former spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg.[3] Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Stanley Tucci, and Laura Linney are also featured in supporting roles.[4] The film's screenplay was written by Josh Singer based in-part on Domscheit-Berg's book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World's Most Dangerous Website (2011), as well as WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy (2011) by British journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding. 

About The Fifth Estate (film)

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