Julian Assange wrote an epic breakup letter to Benedict Cumberbatch on Wikileaks

assange cumber

You know I have a love-hate thing with Julian Assange. I admire him and I kind of despise him. I think he’s brave and a hypocrite. But here’s something I didn’t expect: Julian Assange doesn’t understand how movies and movie promotion work. He doesn’t understand that by inserting himself into the promotion of The Fifth Estate in an attempt to ridicule the film and discourage people not to see it, he’s only giving the film additional publicity and making more people interested in it. For such a brilliant man, this is a somewhat fatal flaw. It is a flaw that reflects his own (well-known) hubris. So, in an attempt to “shame” Benedict Cumberbatch and the people who made The Fifth Estate, Assange released an “open letter” on WikiLeaks yesterday. You can read the full thing here – it’s very long. Assange is incapable of pith. He is neither witty nor conversational. He’s a blowhard. Here’s an edited version:

Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2013
From: Julian Assange
To: Benedict Cumberbatch
Subject: Message from Assange

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 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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

[Via Wikileaks]

I’m guessing this is the letter that Benedict received just days before he began filming The Fifth Estate. Cumby has said in previous interviews that he asked for changes to be made to the script before Assange even wrote this letter, and that this letter didn’t really change the way he felt about Assange. I believe Benedict even wrote him back too, right? Anyway, I love that Assange has just gone full-on tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorist. “Dreamworks is an extremely wealthy organisation, with ties to powerful interests in the US government.” Yes, Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen all donate heavily to the Democratic party. That is their “tie to the US government” – they donate money to the candidates they like. This is basically like the most annoying, windbaggy Dear John breakup letter ever. Assange is SO OVER IT, Benedict. Now I have an image of Assange listening to Adele’s “Someone Like You” on repeat while he stares at a photo of Cumbercurls.

Oh, and yes… about those Cumberbatch photos from Esquire… um… it’s okay if I moaned a little, right?




Photos courtesy of Esquire, The Fifth Estate.


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132 Responses to “Julian Assange wrote an epic breakup letter to Benedict Cumberbatch on Wikileaks”

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  1. Lindy79 says:

    Psych 101 hat on: I think the narcissist in him wants the publicity for the film, and so he’s indrectly trying to publicise it. He doesn’t want it to bomb as that could in his mind reflect on him but he wants people to know that if he comes across negatively that he isn’t in support of it.

    And yes, I moaned several times when I saw those Esquire photos. (not loving the Beaver fur coat though….oh Benny and Tommy..stop it with the fur trims)

  2. OriginallyBlue says:

    He looks so good in those Esquire pics.

    • Mika says:

      I really think that he’s like Anna Kendricks – they both look better in motion than in pictures.

    • A says:

      I am going to just say it: Benedict Cumberbatch is an uninteresting actor (who needs further linguistic tuition on Australian vowel sounds) with fascinating nomenclature and is apparently famous for a television show which is essentially CSI Miami with a touch of English restraint bolstered by “literary connections”. He’s a slightly less insufferable Hiddleston – or whatever his name is, i’ve only read one interview where he waxed lyrical about Shakespeare and sounded just awful. Mr Cumberbatch should be so lucky Assange even attempted to persuade him to drop this godawful film. Oh, and he looks like an Otter.

      • Abby says:

        The comments on his Australian accent is so divergent. Many Australians have applauded his accent so much saying he is the first person to nail it in history…others are trashing it.

        I guess to each their own

      • Maureen says:

        I think Benedict is doing an Aussie accent of a man with a unique speech pattern (Assange’s speech has been described as slow and kind of flat, and that he himself may be slightly autistic) AND a speech impediment all at once, and many critics don’t realize that’s the oddity of what they’re hearing…not Benedict’s lack of grasping the accent. Also, don’t Australians have variations of accents the way native-born Americans do? Like we have a Boston accent, a New York accent, the midwestern accent, and the various southern accents?

        I trust Benedict’s abilities as an actor and if people are saying his accent is “off” or not authentic then I question the critics’ understanding of what he was doing within his role.

      • layla says:

        @Maureen …

        While there are slight variations in Australian accent it is nowhere near diverse or pronounced as the varying accents throughout the US.

      • Lucrezia says:

        @ Maureen. There’s really not a lot of regional variation in Australian accents. I’m an Aussie and honestly can’t pick whether someone is from Perth or Sydney (they’re 4000k/2500m apart). Linguists can probably pick it, but there’s nothing like the obvious accents you get in the US or UK.

        There *is* a bit of a city/country accent. You can tell if someone grew up in the bush or in a big city.

        The thing is, Assange definitely doesn’t have a normal Aussie accent. I think Cumby nails Assange-speek, but if you’ve never heard Assange talk, and are expecting an everyday Aussie accent, you’re going to think Cumby is doing a terrible job.

        (You mentioned the weird speech patterns and speech impediment, but you missed the fact he’s spent a lot of time in Europe. It’s a weird blend. You hear a lot of Aussies who’ve picked up a slight English accent, so that sounds fairly “normal” but Assange spent a lot of time in various Euro countries. You don’t hear a lot of Aussie/Icelandic/Swedish blends, so it sounds odd.)

      • Maureen says:

        Thanks. That’s it exactly. He’s probably nailed Assange-speech…but is being critiqued by people who don’t realize that. He’s not playing one of the Hemsworth brothers!

      • LadySlippers says:

        Thanks Maureen, Layla, and Lucrezia in clearing up some of the issues w/ JA’s accent. It makes sense that JA would have a blend of accents if he’s traveled a lot. I know I do!

        Emma– does Benedict’s accent stay the same throughout the movie? I ask because I noticed his accent in STID drifted a bit. :-)

  3. Hello Kitty says:

    As much as I love Cumby, I would love for the movie to have gone the comedic route with Bill Hader from SNL reprising his Assange impersonation.

  4. Cel says:

    For all you cumbie fans, Benedict will be on The Graham Norton Show this Friday.

  5. T.fanty says:

    Screw Assange, let’s talk about the pics. I could be happy if he wore these outfits EVERYWHERE for the next six months.

    And I just want to note that this manages to achieve haute with nary a pimpin leopard collar in sight (I’m okay with beavers).

    • LadySlippers says:

      Oh I agree TFanty. These pics blew TH’s out of the water… The sex appeal alone….and no camp.

      Oh my..

      • Shw says:

        Isn’t it interesting how this letter ‘leaked’ the day before it’s released in the UK?

        Taking my cynical hat off, the fur coat with leather cuffs gives me strong ‘Dragonfly Coat’ vibes.
        Cumby wears it better though.
        Cumby always wears it better.

        (And for those interested, I have sublimated my Hiddles crush and turned it into something more normal.. He provides me with a muse/inspiration for a pretentious knob/ romantic bastard character I am currently writing. So I may need to borrow TommyAnnE from time time for.. Uh.. Research.. Yeah.. Research)

      • LadySlippers says:

        @Shw — agree about TH & BC.

        Wow. Never thought about using him in a story…..thnx for the idea.

        *frowns bc the story I *am* writing features no arrogant Shakespeare spouting man….*

    • Vesta says:

      I’m with you T.Fanty, screw Assange. We already now he’s in love with himself and now that he has found Cumby is his equal in neverending rambling, of course he has fallen for Cumby. It’s ok Julian – we love him too.

      It’s grey & rainy here and I forgot to buy HobNobs, and h£ll, I don’t even own Royal Doulton Periwinkle cups, so my plan for a little Anglophilian evening went bollocks.

      So it’s only fair I concentrate ONLY on these pictures. There’s lots to concentrate on!

    • Leah says:

      I think Cumby realized that we just wouldn’t be able to handle him in purple leopard… he knew to tone it down a bit.

      However, yes, he does look AMAZING!

  6. kate says:

    Cumber look like a lizard in a suit.

  7. GeeMoney says:

    Benedict looks good in those pics… drool.

    All Assange is doing is creating more press for the film and inadvertenly giving Benedict more publicity too… perhaps it’s a win-win for everyone?

  8. teehee says:

    I do hate Hollywood for their terribly cheesy, stereotypical, fictional-dramatizations of anything that could be remotely interesting. I have to side fully with Assange on this one and if I watch anything about him or his life, it will be a documentary, preferably produced outside the US, and not a Hollywood piece of $hit. No shade on Cumby or Assange at all, but yeah- what a shame to participate in the nonsense they cook up and what a shame how everything is so commercially intertwined when it comes to what is supposed to be a government of, by, and for the ‘free’.
    His choice of the word toxic is spot on.

    • LadySlippers says:


      I think the cheesy Hollywood portrayals stem from the fact that most movie/TV execs think we Americans are too stupid be be given facts in which to form our own opinion (along with a good story because it can be done). Thus, cliched crap is served. :-( Sad really.

    • Emma - the JP Lover says:

      @TeeHee …

      I’m sure Kaiser is going to pull one of these, but once again …

      The film is based upon two books: One written by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who was Assange’s number ’2′ man for years and worked very closely with him, and the other book was written by two reporters from “The Guardian,” with whom Assange has had a close working relationship for years (The Guardian … I don’t know about the reporters).

      LOL! Of ‘course’ Assange is upset. :)

      • Kate says:

        DDB was not Assange’s right hand man. He was just another volunteer. He seemed to think he was more important than he was, but Julian was working with dozens of other people while DBB was busying himself making Wikileaks T-shirts (and he even managed to screw that up).

        When he was suspended by Assange, he destroyed Wikileaks drop-box, stole the un-published submissions and destroyed them. Assange publicly begged DDB to publish the stolen files himself or give them to a paper, he was unconcerned with Wikileaks losing the credit. DDB chose to destroy them because he didn’t want to look bad by publishing files he stole from his old workplace. He suggested that anyone who had sent the files in could simply send them again. Because of course the whistle blowers have just kept stolen data on their PC for two years. The man’s a waste of oxygen.

    • Caz says:

      I agree. This is a significant part of Assange’s life being made into a movie for entertainment. If it was the old days it would have been “off with his head”.

      His choice of “toxic” is OK by me.

      I’m Australian and find it comforting to hear the Aussie accent on screen. Unless it’s a bad interpretation :)

    • icerose says:

      My thoughts as well. I am pretty well on the fence with Assange but what he writes in the letter makes sense to me. Both the sources that the film used for it’s focus were antagonistic to Assange and he is right that most people who see the film and Benny’s character interpretation will sub consciously or not come to see the two as one. And even more so with his fans, who in most cases will be unable to watch it impartially.
      I also find the publishing of a letter which was sent to the actor privately to sell the film is just tacky as is using his childhood to justify the interpretation. It is one of the reasons I have lost respect for Benny despite admiring him as an actor.
      Assange was right to distance himself from the production. You only had to read Cameron’s comments on the film to know that it will be twisted and used by politicians and those who are antagonistic towards his actions. They will praise Benny’s performance in the process because by doing so it implies that the character interpretation is correct and supports their overall criticism of Assanges actions.

  9. Abby says:

    Those pics from Esquire were fabulously delicious. I swear to god I was this close to licking my screen :P lol

    As for the letter…I agree with Kaiser, he is giving the movie more hype and promotion by leaking this letter. But I think he should also release BC’s response…I would like to hear both the sides for a better understanding of what went down between the two.

    Surprisingly this letter has been reported by every major newspaper/magazine website including TIME. My uncle who never heard about Cumby was having a discussion with my father about him and Assange. Look like its free publicity for darling Cumby *evil grin*

  10. SarahP says:

    I’d really like to know if the movie is going to deal with the rape accusations against Assange, which his lawyer admitted were true.

  11. Maya says:

    “Now I have an image of Assange listening to Adele’s “Someone Like You” on repeat while he stares at a photo of Cumbercurls.”

    HA. That made me giggle.

  12. commentingbunny says:

    You only moaned a little? Admirable restraint.

  13. break says:

    This letter and the Wikileaks reaction will stop me from seeing the film – at least from giving money to filmmakers or distributor. I have too much respect for their work to support something that they are so passionately against.

  14. Felice says:

    BC is performing at the National Theatre 50th Anniversary. Tickets are £500 so I think selling one of your kidneys on the black market will suffice….

  15. Sixer says:

    I quite like the letter!

    I don’t wholeheartedly buy into Assange’s argument, but he’s only presenting that element of the Propaganda Model which holds that the liberal press and other media (to whit, not so much Dreamworks as the media buzz around the film) are actually more “dangerous” (ie as disguised lackeys to corporate interests) than the openly conservative.

    You can agree or disagree with him, but I thought it was a lucid explanation of his political position.

    I agree the tone is narcissistic though.

    • LadySlippers says:

      Was that an American or British use of the word ‘quite’ in your statement? ;-)

      To me, it’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, I honestly do not think its as well written as people are saying. I also think his arguments, while valid, are rather weakly portrayed. I keep hearing JA’s a genius and just didn’t see much of it in the letter. That’s all.

      Narcissistic? Just a bit. Hehe

      • Sixer says:

        What’s the American usage?!

        I meant “pretty good” not “wonderful”.

        I think he gave a clear explanation of the argument he was making – ie one based on the propaganda model that liberal media and arts are less liberal than they purport to be. In this case, that the film source is flawed/biased but the film will be reviewed by liberal media as balanced and their judgement will be taken as received wisdom by liberally-minded citizens.

        I think this model has a point generally and I think Assange also has a point in this instance specifically, but I’m not with him or the propaganda model all the way. So you could say that he wasn’t persuasive enough because I haven’t changed my opinion after reading the letter.

        The style: verbose. But I wasn’t really remarking on that.

        Man, I am writing long and serious comments today. I must need ice cream or something!

    • Emma - the JP Lover says:

      @Sixer …

      Did you know the script was based upon two books–one written by a single person and the other written by two people–by people who know him; one of whom knows him ‘extremely’ well?

      • Sixer says:

        Yes, I did.

        But then, I am familiar with all the players and all the positions taken on the main and sub-issues surrounding Wikileaks, whistle blowers generally and most privacy issues.

        But the media are concentrating on one book as the source. So most people won’t realise. Which is the point Assange is making. It’s not an unfair point, whatever one’s view of Wikileaks, Assange and all the rest of it.

        I’m looking forward to seeing the film. I suspect I’ll like it. But that really isn’t germane to the point I was making. Neither is whether one should support Assange or not.

      • Kate says:

        One of the books is written by a man, DDB, who volunteered for a relatively short time and tried to turn that into being a ‘co-founder’ even though Wikileaks was up and leaking long before DDB became involved. Julian crashed at his apartment for a few weeks when he was in Germany. The guy had a few connections within the CCC and Pirate Party, so was useful for a while. He clearly thought Julian was his BFF, Julian saw a guy with a spare bedroom in Germany. His book should be subtitled He’s Just Not That Into You.

        The guy left Wikileaks during Collateral Damage because he was starting to lose his mind (this is made clear in his own book) and he wasn’t around for anything after that. He sabotaged Wikleaks drop-box and stole the as yet unpublished submissions, then later destroyed them. He’s also the guy who tried to start his own leaks site, which after 3 years is no closer to functioning. He’s on the record lying about major things. When he destroyed the submissions, he gave many interviews on the same day, and everyone got a different story. To some he claimed he never had them, to some he claimed he did it, to some he claimed he still has them, to some he claimed ignorance of the submissions all together. He’s not a reliable source at all, he’s actually pretty unhinged.

        The other book is written by two men from The Guardian. Their worst claims about Julian have been denied by journalists from other papers, like Der Speigel. Oh, and they made a password to encrypted files one of their chapter titles, which DDB blathered about, leading to un-redacted files being released by Cryptome. Their defense was that they didn’t realize sensitive passwords shouldn’t be written down verbatim in books, and that it was all Assange’s fault for not making that clear to them. Assange and others also claim that the journalists at The Guardian ignored all computer security measures and thought they were a joke while they were working on the release. David Leigh has got himself in hot water many times attacking Assange with claims that can’t be backed up or that are clearly proven untrue. He has a personal vendetta against Assange, so again, not an impartial source.

        The Most Dangerous Man in the World by Andrew Fowler is quite a good book, if you’re looking for a more balanced read.

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        Excellent points, Kate!

        DDB looks and smells like a patsy and a government propagandist for the orchestrated smear campaign against an international freedom fighter. IMO, Julian Assange is right up there with Patrick Henry.

      • Eve says:

        @ Sixer and Kate:

        Thank you for your comments.

  16. Bridget says:

    I just find it so ironic that someone who believes in extreme freedom of information is trying to block a movie like this. What a blowhard. Face your charges, Assange!

  17. Ari says:

    he actually looks good (to me) in these pics for once so yay for that :D

  18. Gretchen says:

    Actually, the whole government/dreamworks assertion isn’t really tin-foil-hat stuff at all. I don’t know specifically about dreamworks, but Hollywood’s long standing relationship, particularly with the military, is well known, well documented and pretty out in the open.

    • LadySlippers says:

      @Gretchen — it’s not just Hollywood. I can remember reading something to my then husband from a Tom Clancy book. His jaw dropped because what I read was classified and the book was already in paperback…. Now that means someone had to give Tom Clancy that info…

      As for Hollywood… They do get A LOT wrong so I’m a tad skeptical on Hollywood & the military are tight idea. I think it might be more on a case-by-case basis. And like JA, with all the negative scandals the military has faced, they could use some ‘free’ advertising. But only for certain people/studios…

      • Caz says:

        Hollywood & the US Military are tight.

        Top Gun was a promotional piece for the US Airforce. Hollywood (Bruckheimer?) was directly asked to make a movie to encourage recruits into the airforce because numbers were down.

        Rambo was encouraged to be made to promote/reinforce the idea of Americans “being the boss” and winning on foreign soil, as hangover from the negative view of their loss in Vietnam.

        Platoon was made to reinstore the faith in America and ease the guilt of what happened in Vietnam, too. It was also an excellent movie. And it quite did the job it was supposed to.

        Stranger things have happened. GI Joe-Retaliation was only made to promote a toy line. No govt mandates there.

      • Sixer says:

        But to be fair, it’s not just Hollywood. Films, plays, TV shows – they all reflect the political and cultural zeitgeist. Even Shakespeare productions reflect their time and place – the difference between the Olivier and the Branagh films of Henry V are often cited as an example of this.

      • LadySlippers says:

        Correction: Top Gun was a Navy movie NOT an Air Force movie. They were flying F-14s and that was exclusively used by the US Navy. (F-14s have since been retired)

        I can list a ton of movies that are horribly wrong in their portrayal of the military. (I was a military spouse for 16 years)

        I’m not saying Hollywood/other media and the military don’t use one another; I just don’t buy the tight idea. Too many mistakes in too many movies (laughable ones too).

      • Bridget says:

        @caz: don’t you mean Naval Aviators?

  19. Tania says:

    Just to add to the story, Wikileaks posted the full screenplay for the movie.

  20. Emma - the JP Lover says:

    I saw an advance screening of the film last night. It was ‘no’ Assange love-fest, and it didn’t exactly paint “The Guardian” in the best light either.

    It was a hip, well-paced film that kept my attention. In my humble opinion, Assange is only proving what was painfully apparent in the film: he ‘is’ without a doubt a hardcore egomaniac (and, I seriously think, a borderline sociopath as well). He seems to have no ethical, moral, or social filter. He seems to be what the world most fears and loves: a charismatic personality with a warped view of ‘our’ place in ‘his’ world.

    The world had one of those about 80 years ago. People both feared and loved him. He had staunch supporters and dedicated enemies. He needed ‘all’ of your attention and everyone else’s as well, and when he lost any bit of it he would ruin your name or erase you from the world.

    The film is based upon two books: “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website” by Daniel Domscheit-Berg (portrayed in the film by German actor Daniel Bruhl) and “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy” by two ‘Guardian’ reporters–David Leigh and Luke Harding.

    I liked the film very much.

    • Lucrezia says:

      Did you just compare Assange to Hitler?

      That’s the first example of Godwin’s Law that I’ve seen on CB.

      No wonder he doesn’t want people to watch the bloody thing.

      (He’s an egotistical d*ck, sure, but he’s not a sociopath, and comparing him to Hitler is ridiculous.)

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        @Lucrezia, who wrote: “Did you just compare Assange to Hitler?”

        I did not use the ‘H’ word here at “Celebitchy,” nor will I. I did ‘not’ compare Assange to the ‘H’ word, I compared him an ‘egomaniac.’ There were more than one Charismatic male egomaniacs around about 80 years ago. All egomaniacs have the same traits … so take your pick.

        And the film is based upon two books by people who know him. Perhaps there is another reason why he doesn’t want people to see the film.

      • LadySlippers says:

        Perhaps it’s just the ego that’s comparable. *shrugs* Dunno as I haven’t seen the movie. I am glad to hear someone liked it too. With so many bad reviews it’s hard to tell.

        And Lucrezia, thanks for the distinction in regards to the lawyer. I honestly didn’t know that.

      • Lucrezia says:

        Okay, Emma, to which 1930′s charismatic male egomaniac were you referring?

        If it wasn’t the-H-guy (I’ll roll with that, though I don’t see the need for a euphemism), you shouldn’t have a problem telling me who you were talking about. I’d like to understand your comment. If I got the wrong guy, tell me the right one.

        Edit: @ LadySlippers – no worries. I looked it up when if first started being quoted because I thought: “what kind of defence lawyer would say THAT?”. Once you learn the context it makes a lot more sense.

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        @Lucrezia, who wrote: “If it wasn’t the-H-guy (I’ll roll with that, though I don’t see the need for a euphemism), you shouldn’t have a problem telling me who you were talking about. I’d like to understand your comment. If I got the wrong guy, tell me the right one.”

        See the film first, but then … and I repeat … pick your own egomaniac from that period, or any period, as they’re all the same. :)

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        “I did ‘not’ compare Assange to the ‘H’ word, I compared him an ‘egomaniac.’” – Emma – the JP Lover

        You most certainly did! You are being disingenuous, at best, because you more than merely implied tarring Assange with the same ‘egomaniacal’ brush as Hitler.

        Alright, Emma – the JP Lover, I have some time on my hands! :) I googled your every example tarring Assange with the same euphemistic ‘egomaniacal’ brush as Hitler. Here goes my breakdown of your remarks compared to those on record about Adolph H:

        “he ‘is’ without a doubt a hardcore egomaniac (and, I seriously think, a borderline sociopath as well)” – google quote: A more accurate diagnosis and the diagnosis Hitler would probably receive if he were to seek psychiatric care is that of antisocial personality disorder. This is, of course, popularly known as being a sociopath.

        “a charismatic personality” – google quote: … the recognition of Adolf Hitler as a charismatic “personality”; an apparently magnetic character instead of a malevolent, psychopathic void.

        “with a warped view of ‘our’ place in ‘his’ world.” – google quote: To rationalize his warped Weltanschauung (“worldview”) Hitler cherry-picked from the writings of his philosophical heroes.

        “The world had one of those about 80 years ago.” – google quote: Hitler came to power 80 years ago. I remember it like yesterday

        “People both feared and loved him.” – google quote: Hitler also was both feared and loved by his people.

      • Lucrezia says:

        Thank you Sloane! I tried giving Emma the benefit of the doubt, but since she refuses to be more specific, I have to assume she was indeed Godwin-ing the thread.

        The idea that all charismatic egomaniacs are the same is patently absurd. If you believe that, then Hitler = Churchill = Kennedy = Charles Manson = Robert Downy Junior = John Mayer.

      • Sixer says:

        I think it’s the first example of passive-aggressive Godwin-ing I’ve EVER seen!

  21. VioletCrumble says:

    Mr Cumberbatch. Oh, yes. I might have to start buying magazines again. My daughter dumped her Cumberbatch lookalike boyfriend yesterday…
    Lawyer. Liar. Eh… Not much diff.

  22. Esmerelda says:

    Cumby looks like an upscale Bond villain in that coat. He just needs a white fluffy cat and a fake Russian accent.

    About JA and the movie… it could have been a great occasion to explain cryptography and its implications… and it has been turned in just another celebrity endorsed ‘conspiracy’.

    • Emma - the JP Lover says:

      @Esmerelda, who wrote: “About JA and the movie… it could have been a great occasion to explain cryptography and its implications… and it has been turned in just another celebrity endorsed ‘conspiracy’.”

      Actually, the film isn’t just another ‘celebrity endorsed’ conspiracy theory. It spent time covering Assange’s ‘shadow/mirror’ sites and how/why they were/are so well protected.

      Anything more might be a spoiler (I saw the film last night in an advanced screening) so just suffice it to say, they did a good job explaining geeky tech stuff in a manner even ‘alien’ math students like me could understand. :)

      I highly recommend the film.

      • LadySlippers says:

        Thanks Emma. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see the film. And I loved your review of the film. You should go to rotten tomatoes and post it — it always helps to hear real reviews vs critics reviews.

      • Esmerelda says:

        @Emma: thanks for your reply.
        If the tech part is well presented, I’ll probably go see the movie. IMHO, the interesting part in the wikileaks story is how they used a tech revolution (‘free’ cryptography) and applied it to a political / ideological end. If the movie was just a portrait of JA, as this buzz seemed to imply, it would have been a pity.

    • Green Girl says:

      He looks like he’s a villain who uses THE SEXINESS as a weapon.

  23. Frankly, I think everyone, Assange first and foremost, may be overestimating the importance and range of this film. I’m a big fan of Cumberbatch’s acting talent and I do love his looks (wouldn’t call me a Cumberbitch though), but from the first pics to the trailer to all this promotion around the film, I have no desire to see it. The subject bores the pants off me and I don’t see why a film about Assange needs to be made NOW, when there are so many loose ends concerning his life story and trajectory. He is indeed an interesting character and his life’s work is too, on many levels. But I just don’t get a film at this point in time. I think he gives the “power” of this film way too much credit (and by doing so, reveals just how self-absorbed he is). I’m just so over everything concerning The Fifth Estate.

    • Green Girl says:

      This is where I am on the film. I think the film’s topic and subject should have aged a little bit. Why not look at it 10+ years later, you know?

      I also really can’t get into political-type movies. When I sit down to watch a film, I usually gravitate toward lighter fare (especially if I will be spending more than $10/ticket).

    • icerose says:

      That was my feeling as well. There needs to be a period of time to let the dust settle before you can make a film with any impartiality. Nobody really knows what the impact of the Wiki leaks is let alone enough about the man to make judgements about his character.
      And what is really sad is that many of his fans will be more interested in how he looks rather than any ethical concerns,
      I all the reviews I read coming out of Tiff boring and plodding was the overall tone. It may be that they do explain all the tech stuff skilfully but that does not make for interesting or inspired film making and neither does overdramatizing his flaws.

      • Sixer says:

        For me, an “impartial” film about this issue would likely be unsatisfying. Mostly, because impartiality is a nigh-on impossibility and there will always be hidden biases and assumptions and the audience may find it too difficult to untangle them because they are not open.

        I think “truth” would be served better by multiple films, arguing for each side. We can then watch them all, assess the arguments and make up our own minds about the “truth”.

  24. TQB says:

    Am I the only one who started hearing the letter being read in dulcet Cumberbatch tones, and got completely distracted? My bad.

    (Go on, go read it again. You know you want to.)

  25. Jo Darby says:

    This annoy anyone else?

    “discourage people not to see it”

  26. Claudia says:

    Depressing to see so many comments against Assange. It seems lots of folks here are apolitical or reactionary.

    • LadySlippers says:

      Claudia, I haven’t commented about JA because I don’t know a heck of a lot and prefer to get both sided of any story before I do.

      What do you think about the whole situation?

    • Katie says:

      I think it’s a case of someone who isn’t a great person doing something important, if that makes sense?

      What Wikileaks did was risky, brave and necessary, but that doesn’t mean Assange is a wonderful person or hero.

      Conversely, Assange’s personal sins don’t negate the importance of the work.

    • Lucrezia says:

      I’m with Katie. I’ll defend Assange against false propaganda, but I don’t characterize him as a hero. It’s complicated. I agree with the basic principles, but Wikileaks/Assange sometimes cross a line I’m uncomfortable with. (I think the same about Greenpeace: save the whales definitely, but boarding an Russian oil-rig is NOT a good idea.)

      I think the problem is that the whole shebang (Assange/Wikileaks/rape-charges) isn’t equally polarising.

      If 10% think he’s a guilty-as-sin traitor, only 1% think he’s a martyred hero. But if include all the people with a complicated view, then maybe 30% would be in the “I agree with elements, but on the whole I disapprove” camp, while the remaining 59% think “I disagree with elements, but on the whole I approve” camp.

      So the majority is pro Assange/Wiki but most of them aren’t going to be as vehement as the anti’s. It makes the tone of the discussion a bit unbalanced.

      Especially since it’s such a complicated topic with so many elements. Katie and I appear to be in the same camp (generally pro, but with some reservations), but there are probably specific aspects we’d disagree on.

    • teehee says:

      Thats what I was gonna say. I dont watch TV, so I am not being spoon fed any assaults against him or his character, and I am totally astonished to see people calling him a ‘narcissist’ and talking like he is some sort of a sociopath.
      Where did they get that??? Even more surprising is how they are interpreting his letter as a reason TO see the movie… like *smacks forehead*
      I suppose thats a case of not being able to see the forest when standing amongst the trees…
      I mean dont people KNOW that goverments make propaganda? That our entire environment shapes our opinions through selective information and slanted information? How do you think youre not above it— the US does it too… and yes, you may be victim to it… and that is exactly what Assange stands for- opening peoples’ eyes to this. Apparently not many people want to see what he was pointing out.

      • Sixer says:

        I think people are subconsciously aware but find it painful when a national identity is punctured by revelations of holes or iniquities in its myths. This is particularly strong in countries with very patriotic national narratives – eg the United States.

        In a way, Assange is speaking to the personal pride of millions of people. It’s bound to hurt. And reactions are therefore going to be extreme.

        And that’s BEFORE you even start to unravel an argument as to the balance between national security and government accountability.

      • LadySlippers says:


        Oh, after living outside the US for years I am much more wary of the government and the US media. So I am fully aware of the US’s spin on crap and totally agree with anyone who promtes transparency.

        If it weren’t for the timing if the letter, I would have totally agreed with you. After the critics panned it post TIFF premiere this movie looked to sink quickly from our consciousness; it was only after JA/Wikileaks published JA’s letter to BC that everyone’s keyed back into the movie. That’s what’s catching all our attention. If JA (IMO) wanted to protest the movie, he should have published it in the midst if the TIFF reviews because a lot of critîcs didn’t like how one sided it is.

        However, the letter does seem a tad narcissistic and this film does help keep Wikileaks and Julian on the forefront of our minds. That’s a good thing as support for him does seem to be evaporating.

        I don’t have cable so I’m also not being spoon fed info. Before this movie I had next to no opinion & knew almost nothing about the situation. Granted, I will (unlike most people) seek out differing opinions in order to have a more balanced view.

        To sum it up, it’s the timing of the letter that is most suspect NOT the contents. And a man against propaganda isn’t above using some himself.

  27. icerose says:

    Lucrezia”It’s absolutely not the same as a lawyer saying “yeah my client did it”.”
    Makes perfect sense to me

  28. allons-y alonso says:

    Julian Assange is a twat of the highest order. He is unwilling to accept the negative ramifications Wikileaks has brought upon other people and the image of him dressed as a bogan, lip-synching to John Farnham’s ‘The Voice’ for the Wiki Leaks party’s election campaign will forever needlessly take up precious space in my brain that I could be using to enjoy these Batch photos -particularly the 1st one…He has nice hands.

  29. Missykittens says:

    Celebitchy, I think you underestimate the connection between Dreamworks and the US government. A lot of films are used as propaganda to distort the public’s image of certain events, which is what Assange is referring to.

  30. That’s the EDITED version!!?? Lost me after the second sentence. I developed an acute case of WHOTHEFECKCARES.