Benedict Cumberbatch debuted his latest film, a true story retelling of the events that lead to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange becoming a fugitive to the American government. Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks and made international headlines when he began leaking classified documents on his website which exposed the inner workings of how America does war-time business overseas.
The Fifth Estate stars Cumberbatch as Assange and while the man the film is based around has renounced the film he had little involvement in, Cumberbatch came forth to defend Assange, saying he “had a really strong moral purpose behind his actions”.
But while he defended Assange to a certain extent, Cumberbatch never dug in on either side of the argument for or against his banishment from the United States and his status as a treasonous fugitive. Cumberbatch said that while he tried to get into contact with Assange before and during filming The Fifth Estate, he simply could not meet the man he’d be portraying.
“I wanted to get in contact with him. I would have liked to have met him. For reasons which I respect, he didn’t want to do that — to condone a film he didn’t want to agree to. So we ended up having a very brief e-mail exchange.”
The Toronto Film Festival has been busy for Cumberbatch who not only stars in The Fifth Estate but also Oscar dark horse 12 Years a Slave among a few others. Early reviews for The Fifth Estate are mixed, but Cumberbatch is still proud of the work he did, even if he could never fully prepare himself to play the role the way he’d have liked.