Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in ‘The Fifth Estate’ trailer: amaze-balls?

I need some alone-time with this trailer. I need to have this trailer’s creepy babies. JESUS. Is it possible – really, really possible – that Benedict Cumberbatch is going to be nominated for an Oscar this year? Because I think that might happen. I think Cumby might get nominated for his work in this film, The Fifth Estate, where he’s playing Julian Assange, the “original gangster”. For me, in my lifetime, Assange will always be more controversial, more mysterious, more of a major international hacker/leaker than anyone else. I’m sorry, y’all, but I think Edward Snowden is a d-bag and a traitor. Meanwhile, I can still see Assange’s point of view (even if I rarely agree with him about his methods or his self-aggrandizement).

What’s great about Benedict’s version of Assange – at least what we can see of him in this first trailer – is that Cumby doesn’t seem to be trying to make Assange likeable or even understandable. Power corrupts everyone, even those people trying to take down the powerful. Also: the wig work is fantastic, and Cumby is NAILING Assange’s bizarre accent/voice. And that’s not all Cumby will be nailing, if you get my drift. *tosses panties at Cumby*

Really good, right? Not only do we get to look at Cumby, but there’s Stanley Tucci (love it), Anthony Mackie (LOVE HIM), Daniel Brühl (he plays Assange’s former partner, Daniel Domscheit-Berg), Laura Linney (OMG), and Alicia Vikander. This is not telling Assange’s story with an eye on making Assange sympathetic – Assange is a controversial figure even among journalists. The main source material for this movie was Domscheit-Berg’s expose on WikiLeaks and Assange after his falling out with Assange.

The film is directed by Bill Condon, who gave an exclusive interview to Vulture about the trailer and the film. You can read it here – he has so much praise for Cumberbatch. HUZZAH.

The Fifth Estate comes out this fall. As does 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County, the second Hobbit movie, and at some point in the winter, the third season of Sherlock. SO MUCH CUMBERBATCH. It’s so amazing. We are living in a Gilded Age of Cumberbatch.

Photos courtesy of ‘The Fifth Estate’, WENN.

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149 Responses to “Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in ‘The Fifth Estate’ trailer: amaze-balls?”

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  1. Anna says:

    TOTALLY amaze-balls. The trailer gave me chills. And his performance is spot-on Assange (something I know a bit about courtesy of my job), which immediately distracts – in a good way – from the fact that they do not look alike at all. LOVE!

  2. allons-y alonso says:

    As an Aussie, I would like to say that, at least in the trailer, he has nailed our accent. Very few get it right. (Personally, I really hate my accent).

  3. Amelia says:

    Really excited for Cumby, I hope he gets recognition for his part in this film. It’s really lovely to see a genuinely talented actor (and IMO, a decent person) be successful.
    But personally, in my opinion, Assange can F*CK OFF.
    Stop cowering in the Ecuadorian embassy and go and face your sexual assault charges in Sweden.

  4. T.Fanty says:

    It looks *so* good. And,naturally, Cumby (naturally) looks like he’s going to be brilliant as Assange.

    And God help me, I’d still hit it. So much of his appeal is the talent, and his capacity to work really hard to be good at what he does (plus: thighs!)

    (Also: LOVING the week of Cumby, Kaiser. Thanks!)

  5. Cherry says:

    In addition to all those other amazing cast members -Cumby, Stanley Tucci, Laura Linney- did I also spot Carice van Houten there?

  6. Guesto says:

    Yes re Carice. And David Thewlis, another great and very underrated actor. And Peter Capaldi. Fabulous cast.

  7. Buckwild says:

    Movie looks great. But Assange, the person?

    How do you find Snowden to be a traitor and d-bag when at least he carefully selected anoymized data that didnt release anything with specific personal information, but alerted others to the overreaching power of the state? He didn’t put any lives at risk except himself. Assange releases everything without any thought for individual personal information. He’s reckless and thoughtless about his methods.

    • Noreen says:

      I really hope this is addressed in the movie. I really, really hope this movie is not a propaganda piece for Assange and those who support his methods, and I really hope that Cumberbatch is a better man and truer artist than that–than getting involved with a propaganda piece. I’m all for moral gray areas and for a person being of shades both light and dark, and THAT is how Assange should be played. I hope this movie doesn’t make him out to be some kind of mystic hero for the age.

      • T.Fanty says:

        Assange saw the script and publicly denounced it in strong terms, so that’s a positive sign in regards to its impartiality.

      • Guesto says:

        @Noreen – If you read the Vulture interview, you’ll see it’s far from a propaganda piece. Assange apparently is not a fan of Condon’s version of events.

      • Anna says:

        It’s based on a book by someone who majorly fell out with Assange – could hardly be a source of blind praise.

      • binturong says:

        Do people here think that “Hollywood” operates completely free of government/corporate influence? ALL movies are “propaganda”.

      • Anna says:

        Then that government/corporate influence would be interested in creating PRO-government, ANTI-Assange propaganda. Not the other way around.

      • Kiddo says:

        @T.Fanty, No we don’t give away our rights because of technology. The gov’t is following emails, some not to businesses, but personal interactions. The gov’t is copying every piece of mail that flows through the post office. The gov’t is keeping records and following phone calls of people who aren’t criminals. And all for the sake of protecting our freedoms? WTF? What they are doing is evidence gathering before a crime is committed. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were actually 100% on catching terrorists, but they’re not.

      • T.Fanty says:


        I’m not debating the ethics of it, because that’s just a pandora’s box. But, statements such as this:

        “If you have an account, we may share the information submitted under your account among all of our services in order to provide you with a seamless experience and to improve the quality of our service”

        which is in Google’s user terms and agreement, allows them the opportunity to profile their users, store information, and essentially monitor one’s e-mail. Google also references “content extraction” as a means of ‘serving their consumers,’ which fundamentally admits that private e-mails are not, in fact, private (source: If I remember correctly (and don’t quote me on this), information was largely subpoenaed in NSA. Not that I can conceive of an alternative, but we routinely give up our right to privacy when we sign on to a site, whether it’s submitting to such user agreements, or allowing cookies, which can trace our web history and suggest to us which scarves we might want to buy while we’re reading the online newspaper (side eye Cumby). The reason the Prism scandal was able to happen is because we have allowed it to, and people don’t even seem to care that much.

        Whether the government is right to do so, I’m not touching. I was reading an article in The Guardian about how Obama has a secret “kill list,” which we’re supposed to be horrified by. But, if one of those targets were to try another WTC bombing, people would want to know how that was allowed to happen. I’m as liberal as they come, but I honestly couldn’t say which of the two evils is lesser. But, I will stand by my claim that as long as people worry more about the Kardashians then their privacy rights, then they are complicit in their own deceit.

      • Lindy79 says:

        T-Fanty I agree with everything you have said. Personally I wasn’t *that* shocked with Snowdens revelations. You only have to look at Gmail which gives webpage suggestions based on what you’re discussing in your emails. I’ve noticed this first hand and thats just the tip of the iceberg. We agree to T&C’s without even reading them, see Eddie Izzards joke about not being able to find one person who has read Apples, and you’re probably signing away your first born.

    • Naye in VA says:

      While I think he is less of a d-bag than Assange, Snowden was given clearance and when you are given clearance you sign several contracts saying that you will never reveal anything you are knowledged about while performing your duties. You actually have to swear an oath if im not mistaken. I get the whistleblower stance, but rules are rules for a reason. That literally makes him a traitor.

      • Buckwild says:

        He did break his contract for sure. But who is he a traitor to? If we’re talking traitor to the state (treason, which is what he will face in the US), I find his arguments that he did what he did for the American people to be persuasive. He saw an all-powerful state, built on protection of individual rights and consent-based mechanisms, spying on its citizens and betraying its promise to its people. Who can you tell if you think the highest level of government is already involved down in the mud? Who would believe you? I find Snowden to be a much more sympathetic figure. He didnt show the same recklessness as Assange, who had little thought for how he would protect the individual personal information contained in his releases.

      • cr says:


        I don’t consider Snowden a traitor, but I do find it interesting that he supported the security state system until fairly recently.
        I’d like to think he had a legitimate change of heart, and not just for political purposes.

      • T.Fanty says:

        In terms of betraying his government/people/country, isn’t part of the problem with the NSA situation is that we, by our own engagement with social media, have already signed away many of the rights to privacy that we believe we have? What the government is doing may feel unethical (and if you want to slam Obama’s human rights record, I’ll wave my pom poms in consent), and unconstitutional, but don’t we sign away a *lot* of these rights when we interact with various corporations online? I’m no expert, but the existence of many user agreements, plus the patriot act, probably renders a lot of what is going on somewhat legal. What we should be doing is understanding what Snowdon brings to light and debating our own complicity in this.

        Machiavelli says “men are so simple and subject to the present needs that one who is willing to deceive will always find those willing to be deceived.” Seems kind of apt.

      • Anna says:

        @Fanty –

        Agreed. Most people met Snowden revelations with a shrug. The only reason that story is still a story (do people even remember what PRISM is?) is bc of the asylum debacle.

      • T.Fanty says:

        I like that they’re calling it Prism. It sounds like a villainous corporation from a James Bond film. I imagine a big glass building on top of a giant shark tank.

      • Rialmar says:

        Edward Snowden is not literally a traitor. Why not? Because the U.S. Constitution says not.

        The Founders were very familiar with expansive definitions of “treason,” and had good reason to mistrust them. So they put a narrow definition in the Constitution itself, effectively forbidding the U.S. from ever adopting a broader one. I realize that plenty of senators are out there grandstanding about this, not to mention the usual suspects on tv news, but everyone who knows anything about the law and isn’t playing to a re-election constituency the way Lindsay Graham is knows better.

        Hell, Lindsay Graham knows better. He’s just pretending not to.

        For those who’re curious, the relevant language reads, “SECTION 3. Clause 1. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Snowden’s not even close to the definitional margins.

    • LadyMTL says:

      ITA, I don’t understand why people are calling Snowden a traitor when Assange was hailed (by some, anyway) as a pioneer for freedom of expression and truth and so on. I mean, I find Snowden a lot less menacing in an overall way than Assange. Yes, Snowden signed contracts and etc but if I had to choose who I’d rather have dinner with, it wouldn’t be the creepy J.A.

      That said, I suppose if Assange has denounced the film then it won’t just be a puff piece.

    • Lucrezia says:

      Traitor: one who betrays a friend, principle or country.

      Assange published stuff given to him by people who were variously betraying their confidentiality oaths, their employers and/or their countries. But he, himself, didn’t betray anyone/anything. You can definitely call him an irresponsible publisher (and douche-bag), but no-one’s calling him a traitor because it simply doesn’t fit.

      Snowden, on the other hand, obviously did betray his employers. Whether he betrayed his country depends on whether you define “the country” as “the people” or as “the government”.

      • Naye in VA says:

        +1. This was all i was saying. I don’t take particular issue with Snowden however he is technically a traitor, and that’s all i aimed to point out. To the state and to the county. Maybe not to the individual American but…

        I still think he’s wayyy better than Assange.

    • binturong says:

      @ Anna:Propaganda, at least in the US, is far more subtle than just a “pro” or “anti” stance. Painting someone as a douche, throwing shade, etc, etc, can also be just as effective.

      • Kiddo says:

        Plus, other people who have done great things are not one dimensional heroes. Jefferson was a highly intelligent man who wrote about freedoms, while being a slave owner. MLK was a great man for civil rights, but was purported to be a womanizer. The label of douche could likely be attached to many people who have effected change. It probably takes a very large ego to reach that level of exposure.

    • Kiddo says:

      @T.Fanty, I agree with a lot of what you’ve said, and this is partially why I use less Google products, but you are right, it’s difficult to escape an assault on your privacy. However, mail and telephone service is not a new technology, and we are not even informed of this invasion of a basic right, for the most part.

      Maybe the Kardashians are an evil gov’t plot to divert attention and dumb down the masses. I’m kidding on the conspiracy part of it, but not the end result, unfortunately.

    • Cazzee says:

      Exactly. The statement “For me, in my lifetime, Assange will always be more controversial, more mysterious, more of a major international hacker/leaker than anyone else. I’m sorry, y’all, but I think Edward Snowden is a d-bag and a traitor.” is ridiculous.

      Assange put people’s lives at risk because of the unredacted documents he released…but Snowden informing Americans that the NSA is engaged in unconstitutional activities is somehow treason?

      Just to point out the obvious: if Snowden is a traitor, then that means that the American public is an enemy of the state. I guess we’re all traitors now….

      • Noreen says:


        No citizen should ever have to fear exposing its government’s corruption and illegal activities. The government should fear us, not the other way around. The government and the people who make up this government need to be reminded of their place.

  8. Cora says:

    This year’s Oscar slate is going to be an embarrassment of riches. It’s not going to be an easy year for the voters, but it’s going to be a great year for movie-goers. I’m so excited!

  9. Noreen says:

    My GOD. I need time to process this.

    We are indeed in the Golden Age of Cumberbatch.

  10. Mia 4S says:

    Easy Kaiser, or you’ll never make it to Christmas! On your list you forgot Star Trek will be out on DVD in September, more Batch for your living room.
    ;-) Pace yourself!

  11. Miss M says:

    Please, God!!! Have mercy on me and make me unseen this…

  12. TheWendyNerd says:

    Okay, this is getting to be a little much. The trailer looks good and Cumby seems to be doing a great job, but he is NOT pantie-throw worthy here. And that’s a good thing! He’s not supposed to be. It’s just getting a bit overpowering. ANd I say that as someone who ADORES him and had a shirtless pic of him as my desktop background for like, three months.

  13. Jenna says:

    *shudders* Creepy, indeed! O_o BUT I am very excited to see Cumby’s work this year. Mainly Sherlock! Can’t wait!

  14. Lindy79 says:

    I cannot wait to see this, the entire cast is stellar and it looks like it will take in both sides or a very interesting arguement. I do agree though, that while normally I would be all over Cumby like his bad foundation, but in this it’s not about that. I’d say he’s pretty much guaranteed a Bafta nod for either this or 12 Years. Oscars are always more political/less inclined towards the really really gritty, as Shame proved last year, Fassbender and McQueen should have been nominated.

  15. ncboudicca says:

    Snowden is a douche, Assange is a douche…this trailer is incredible. I actually want to see this movie.

  16. Lucrezia says:

    Agreed. I was worried because that still released a while ago (the with the bad wig) looked terrible. But now that I’ve seen it in motion – Cumberbatch and the wigmaker both nailed it.

  17. helsbels says:

    What I love about Cumberbatch is that he doesnt try and eat scenery to get award nominations. He is always true to the character he creates. He’s his own harshest critic so he will go out of his way to make it less showy. Someone said this on his IMDb page and it is so true:-

    I’ve seen the Awards Board and it’s definitly not showy enough for the Oscars but that’s also why I respect his performance so much.

    He could have done a caricature of Assange and be campy as hell (see DDL as Lincoln or PSH in Capote) but he didn’t. He decided to play Assange as a real person and not a cartoon. He won’t have an Oscar for Assange but I respect him even more for that.

    Moreover, it’s a movie about Wikileaks and Benedict didn’t try to monopolize the attention, on the contrary his performance serves the movie and its subject. It’s very brave and shows a lot of integrity.

    Some people on this site gush over actors with muscles or guys who are very rude to waiters. Or guys who treat girlfriends very badly but I’ll take a genuine REAL MAN like this anyday.

  18. Kiddo says:

    Maybe it will be a great movie, but he looks creepier than Assange.

  19. Rux says:

    This looks amazing. On a sidenote, thank you for what you said about Snowden. I do not see why everybody is surprised that the NSA were “spying” on us, the Govt even stated it in the press after 9/11 that they would start doing this. This is not some top secret scandal. I already had it in my head that they were doing this so why is everyone acting surprised?

    • cr says:

      Heck, they’d been doing it long before 9-11, but that just gave them carte blanche to do more of it.
      I think some people are surprised that it’s as extensive as it is, and in some cases ‘well, I meant for you to spy on the ‘bad’ guys, not me’.

  20. Abby says:

    Awesome…Cumberbatch nailed it as I thought he would. I mean for the first few seconds it took me time to recognize him…his physique,looks,accent is totally different.

    I agree with what Helsbels said that he did not make it a caricature just to get more awards or something. I applaud peole like that as their intention is NOT to make people applaud or hail them as the greatest actors but to live the charachters.

    Though coming to the trailer, I feel its badly cut. The flow isn’t wry consistent…though the great cast has totally outweighed that negative.

    I truly hope this movie lies upto my expectations.

    An Oscar nod for Cumby won’t hurt either :)

  21. Maya Dragunova says:

    I am nervously waiting for CB to turn on Cumby as it did Hiddles recently…

    Americans may see Snowden as a traitor but from where I come from (far most country to USA)he is champion of human rights!

    • Lindy79 says:

      The only way that will happen is if Cumby gets himself a Twitter account, and uses it to get his fans frothing at the mouth, starts checking Tumblr regularly, and goes to the MTV Movie Awards and acts like he’s just won the Palm D’Or while moaning that Liam Payne from 1D’s dog has more followers than he does (Jesus that was so lame)

    • bet says:

      Hiddleston is fame hungry. I had to bite my tongue on tumblr all the time girls were gushing about him and deriding Benedict. Its good to see some people finally work out what he’s really like. Why dont others do the same re the horrible Fassbender. Of the three Cumberbatch is the only one worth liking. You only have to see him in Japan to see how genuine he is. He’s firm when he needs to be but is always fair with fans e.g the way he treats ticket touts is to be commended.

      • T.Fanty says:

        mmmmmmmmm…. firm when he needs to be………..

      • Noreen says:

        As crazy as this may sound in today’s climate of such extreme celebrity that every single move is a PR maneuver and almost every action is scripted–but I genuinely believe Benedict didn’t know he was going to enter the airport and find hundreds of fans camped out for him. Well, he might have been informed when the plan landed–maybe–but I don’t believe he knew in advance. The reason I think this is because of how he was dressed and how unkempt his hair was. He would never show up to greet fans like that if he knew ahead of time. He looked adorable and completely taken by surprise.

      • EscapedConvent says:


        I agree. He looked pretty damn surprised by that boisterous reception at the airport! I think he was just dressed down & casually for the long plane ride. Why should he sit all those hours in an impeccably tailored suit, all buttoned up? He just threw on some jeans, landed at the airport, & Ka-POW.

        He was dressed up for the actual event & interview.

        I can only conclude that everyone who bitched about the way he was dressed & his messy hair upon his arrival are the same people who wear layers of Spanx, strapless cocktail dresses, all their jewelry, & six-inch hoof shoes to sit on a plane for 12 hours. And they have their hair & makeup professionally done before boarding.

        Don’t they?

      • T.Fanty says:

        Oh, please. He knew it was coming and played up to it. He’s been interviewed about when it happened the last time, and talked about how all of his friends gave him a hard time about the hideous shirt he put on for the occasion. The man knows exactly what he’s doing – he’s just good at playing the publicity game.

      • Lindy79 says:

        EC thats exactly it. Id much rather admire someone like Benedict, who behaves in a normal way even when surrounded by madness and deals with it playfully rather than Victoria Beckham for example. Who is so obsessed with her image that she looks constantly on edge and unhappy and changes on the plane so shes not snapped looking too casual. Bloody exhausting.

      • EscapedConvent says:


        Oh good Lord, I forgot about that shirt the last time he went to Japan. It was *awful*! He should have worn his sequinned shoes to go with it. Wonder what happened to those sparkly sequinned shoes?


        Me too. ;-) Victoria Beckham—always scowling. Cumby—smiling & happy as a little alien clam!

      • Noreen says:

        I didn’t know about the hideous shirt. I just looked it up. God. Just…GOD.

        If he’s so good at playing the game then why doesn’t he dress better to get off a plane and be greeted by 300 people? His clothes were awful this time. Torn jeans and sneakers untied. He truly looked surprised, but then he is a great actor. I think I’d rather he act like he knows they’ll be there and dress casual but nice, rather than pretend he didn’t know WHEN HE REALLY DID KNOW and look sloppy.

        Playing the publicity game is a form of lying. I don’t care for it. Sorry to hear he’s that dishonest. Games are so unnecessary. They like you!! Why play a game? Ugh.

  22. Faun says:

    Snowden is a traitor?


  23. Katie says:

    I was wondering when the trailer for this would come out, especially since the 12 years a slave trailer dropped the other day too! And wow. Just wow. Based on that still picture they released where CB looks…hideous, to put it nicely in his bleached blond wig, seeing the actual trailer gives me hope. It actually looks like an amazing movie that showcases his immense talent (not to mention his ability to flawlessly do voices/accents)and in motion, he doesn’t look as weird. Can’t wait to see it now.

  24. Abby says:

    OMG just found out that its clashing with 12 years a slave on October 18th… WHY????

    Don’t make me chose people…I want both the movies to do well commercially and critically.

    Hope the clash gets averted

  25. F5 says:

    I thought it was Annie Lennox.

  26. EscapedConvent says:

    I am so enjoying the TWO posts about Cumby today. Is Kaiser saying: “All right, you were so nasty about Cumby in yesterday’s post, today you can have *two*?

    I don’t know, but I think we ought to take tomorrow off, & save up for Cumby’s birthday on Friday.

    Who wants to pop out of this giant birthday cake Miss Eyre is baking? All of you Cumberbitches—Achtung!

  27. alison8761 says:

    oh my god, have you seen this???

    make a post about this!!!! there’s many photos of him in this robe.

  28. Michelle says:

    (written without reading comments)

    I’ve recently seen an interview with Julian Assagne on TED Talks. Benedict nails his accent and demeanor (sp?) so well it’s creepy. Oscar or no, this is a great portrayal. Will definately (sp? Sorry, not a native English speaker) see the movie.

  29. Camille (TheOriginal) says:

    I would have watched this had the movie starred pretty much anyone else, but Cumberbitches face is so fug that I can’t get past that to see anything else. You girls can gladly have him :) .

  30. Flower says:

    The sex appeal of Cumberbatch has always eluded me, maybe because he looks just like a friends goofy brother but I do think he will knock the socks off this role.

  31. Leah says:

    i just watched the wikileaks documentary, we steal secrets, and i cant say that cumberbatch much reminds me of assange. The voice he puts on sounds theatrical, and he doesnt look like his at all bar the wig. I am not really sold on this, the scripts sounds bad too. I´d recommend the documentary though.

    • Noreen says:

      Honestly, if I have to read this one more time, “Cumberbatch doesn’t look like Assange”. What do you all expect?? That the movie producers can just magically find a look-a-like for real people when it’s time to make a movie about someone? They do the best they can from a limited pool of actors who can do the job. Jamie Foxx doesn’t look A THING like Ray Charles, but he sure won an Oscar for playing him.

      • Lindy79 says:

        THIS! I’ve read a few times that it should be Jeremy Renner, who does have a facial similarity to Assange, that’s true but no offense to the guy, but I doubt he’d have the acting chops to pull this off, at least not in any of the work I’ve seen him in (and I’m including the Hurt Locker in that). It’s not a bloody look-a-like contest.
        For every 1 criticism of his accent, I’ve heard 3/4 from Aussies who said he is spot on, plus it’s not just about the general accent, it’s about trying to get the essence of the character he is portraying. Either way, I’m holding out for the entire movie, not a 2 minute trailer.

  32. Bijlee says:

    The movie looks amazing. Damn, it’s starting to get harder and harder and harder to stay away from Cumberbatch posts.


  33. Ellie66 says:

    He is way better looking than Assange.

  34. Mabs says:

    Yay!!! Quite possibly a movie with excellent acting AND directing…like at the same time and shiz. Love the cast!