Julian Assange Pens Letter to Benedict Cumberbatch, Calls The Fifth Estate ‘Toxic’

Assange thinks Cumberbatch should quit Hollywood altogether

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Julian Assange is the founder of the whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Like any good actor, Benedict Cumberbatch reached out to Julian Assange before filming The Fifth Estate in order to make his portrayal of the WikiLeaks founder more realistic. And like any good government dissident, Julian Assange declined.

In a letter published in full in Variety, Assange urged Cumberbatch to abandon the enterprise altogether, adding that he thought the actor was a “good person,” but that the film is “deceitful” and “toxic.”

“You will be used, as a hired gun, to assume the appearance of the truth in order to assassinate it,” the letter said.

Assange said that the film is especially dangerous because it’s a big-budget Hollywood fictionalization, with the power to overshadow the narrative of what truly happened with Wikileaks.

“Feature films are the most powerful and insidious shapers of public perception,” he wrote, “because they fly under the radar of conscious exclusion.”

“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.”

So I guess that’s a no, then?