First image of Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange: gross or dead-on?

Back in October, Benedict Cumberbatch was in talks to play Julian Assange in one of the million Assange bio-pics that Hollywood wants to make. There have been a half-dozen candidates to play the Assange role, none of them perfect. Personally, I liked the idea of Jeremy Renner as Assange, but I was okay with the idea of Cumberbatch. Anyway, I don’t think I ever followed up on that piece of casting gossip, but it looks like Cumby did sign on to a film called The Fifth Estate, which is such a catchy title, I had to look it up – the origins are fascinating. I knew that the media were called “the fourth estate” but I had never heard the background on “the fifth estate” before.

Anyway, long story short, it looks like Cumby signed on and they’ve already begun filming, and yesterday producers released the first image from the film. Before we discuss the state of this mess, let me just say something about how quickly everything is moving – my guess is producers want to solidify Cumberbatch as the definitive and FIRST Julian Assange portrayal and that’s why the first image was released SO quickly. The film is being directed by Bill Condon, and the focus is on Assange’s collaboration with key newspapers (like The NY Times). The other dude is actor Daniel Bruhl, who plays Daniel Domscheit-Berg (author of Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange). The film will also star Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie (huzzah!) and Dan Stevens!

Now, let’s talk about how Cumberbatch looks. SO TERRIBLE. My initial impression of Assange (back in 2010) was that the guy was sort of hot in a skeevy, terrible, nihilistic way. And Cumberbatch isn’t really channeling that hotness – at all. That’s a terrible wig!! Julian’s hair isn’t his strength, of course, but he simply does not look this awful. GAH!! My only hope for this is that Cumby is able to channel Julian’s inner sketchiness. And that Cumby’s voice will bring me home. Here’s hoping!

Promotional photos from ‘The Fifth Estate’, additional pics by WENN.

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94 Responses to “First image of Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange: gross or dead-on?”

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  1. brin says:

    Gross and dead-on.

  2. T.Fanty says:

    Gross, but I’d still hit it. He would just have to be very vocal as I would have my eyes tightly closed and be relying on that voice on my thighs.

  3. Faye says:

    Oh, Cumby. Even my deep love for you cannot compel me to watch you portray that odious creep.

    Gah. I need to go watch some Sherlock tonight to wipe that still image from my brain.

    • Amelia says:

      I really wish they weren’t giving this maggot the attention he craves. He’s made a spectacle of himself, hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy and he’s probably laughing his socks off at this.
      If he were as innocent as he claims, there would be no need to hide. He sexually assaulted those girls and he deserves to pay.
      Still love Cumby though, and I suppose this is a shrewd career move if he pulls it off (and knowing his talent, he probably will).

      • V4Real says:

        Oh shit Amelia, I was just strolling through the comments and caught a glance of yours and at first glance I thought you were talking about Crumby, not the man he’s portraying. I had to slow down and read again. LOL!

    • T.Fanty says:

      Well, the wiki leaks people are saying that this is a very negative portrayal of Assange. The man hates not being seen as the martyr he thinks himself to be.

      On a side note, if Kaiser is going to post pics like this, she totally should have finished the post with a Cumby/baby pic, as brain bleach.

  4. Kelly says:

    They should hire Tilda Swinton.

  5. RocketMerry says:

    Could be good, could be bad. We’ll have to wait and see.
    Assange looked so not hot all the time, to me, so it’a not like Cumby needs to be Belle the Beauty.

  6. sasa says:

    He looks like a deranged elf. Wrong look for playing Assange. Maybe the performance will save it.

  7. Ms Kay says:

    He looks like… a series of Inception bad dreams! I’m in a dream and see Andy Warhol whose face is disfigured by drugs, then I fall into another dream I bump into Tilda Swinton looking like a bad facial surgery, then I fall deeper in another one with Draco Malfoy whose beauty cast spell went wrong and final limbo I’m stuck with the weird blonde obsessed stalker from the Bodyguard film. Someone gives me the kick to wake up please!!!

    • Tulip says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Ah, you’ve made my day, both of you, Celebitchy and Ms. Kay.

    • Lucrezia says:

      Perfect description.

      I’m also getting a Warhol/Malfoy blend. I didn’t think of Swinton until you mentioned her, but I do detect the teensiest hint of Hugo Weaving as Elron in Lord of the Rings (something about the hairline at the temples I think).

      *rereads before posting*

      Why do I sound like I’m describing a wine?

    • FassDaActor says:

      Hahahahah….you-are-awesome. Excellent post. You got me dying over here.

    • ViktoryGin says:

      Love. It.

  8. deb says:

    LULZ bill condon directing? Two words: breaking dawn. This will be a mess. No thanks.

    • Mia 4S says:

      Yeah, but I must counter with Gods and Monsters and Kinsey, which were both awesome. I won’t condemn the guy for making some easy money but he better redeem himself!

      Looks creepy, which is perfect! Go Benny!

    • Tish says:

      And he directed a lot of actors to Oscar nominations!

  9. pretty says:

    that long white blonde hair kind of neutralizes his alien/reptilian face and he looks good.

  10. Lulu says:

    Not dead-on, but good. He looks smarmily creepy just like Assange.

  11. Effy says:

    Creepy, sleazy and gross.

  12. MissMary says:

    Oh my poor baby… *pets his hair*

    Still love him but yeah creepy likeness there. I’m wondering just how thirsty is he for awards season, to be doing this movie.

  13. Ranunculus says:

    I am pretty sure governments and the powers that be all around the world spread all kinds of rumours to bad-mouth Assange.

  14. gee says:

    I am not usually a Cumby fan.. but I have a thing for sleazy hair…..

  15. lucy2 says:

    Yuck. I don’t find him attractive to begin with, but that wig makes it even worse. It looks like he’s in an SNL skit or something. And I don’t see any resemblance to Assange, but whatever.

  16. Lauli says:

    He’s a fantastic actor who doesn’t need to be “hot” to do his job, like other talentless actors do.

  17. Erinn says:

    I’ve recently developed a love for the guy. I used to be creeped out by him, and never understood the swooning going on by your ladies, and the whole ‘See him in motion! It’s better’ claim always made me laugh.

    But it’s true. I’ve become quite fond of him. While I’m not sure I’d hit it persay, I’d totally be willing to giggle like a school girl if I ever saw him in public.

  18. Mew says:

    Very girly. He has odd face anyway, so..

  19. L says:

    I never thought I’d use ‘budget’ when it comes to Cumberbatch, but he looks like the budget version of Julian Sands.

    • EscapedConvent says:

      Yes. Thanks for that Julian Sands pic. I’ve always thought he was creepy/hot. I think he’s been held back by his accent, because he sounds the same in every thing I’ve seen him do. Sometimes an angel, sometimes a devil, but always creepy hot!

  20. Tish says:


  21. Birdie says:

    Gosh he is an actor. His job is not to look hot, his job is to act and become a different person, no matter how that person looks like.
    And yes, I’d still hit it.

  22. lower-case deb says:

    oh dear baby jeebus,
    Cumby to Guest Direct @ Cambridge Science Festival.

    yet another reason why i am regretting the day i slacked off in science class :(
    “Live long and think hard!”


  23. Eve says:

    Dead-on. He’s going to nail this.

  24. MsAubra says:

    He’s giving me Julian Sands

  25. Seagulls says:

    It’s not an either-or: he,s both. Yuck.

  26. Hannah says:

    Oh, I didn’t know Daniel Brühl was cast. Cool.

  27. Tish says:

    I love that they went and used a more neutral title for the film. The Man Who Sold the World just screams bias IMO.

  28. marazion says:

    Not even BC can overcome the gross horridness of Julian Assange. Ick ick ick icky pooooo

  29. Dani says:

    That wig is terrible but he’s such a good actor I don’t doubt he’ll be the best version of Julian Assange. Although I wish they’d stick to just ONE film, giving him more attention than he deserves just makes him more of a smug bastard than he already is (Assange).

  30. Adrien says:

    I still think James D’Arcy should play Assange. Julian is not yet that old so James would still fit.
    Sorry but Cumberbatch looks strange. Not to sound mean but he reminds me of Roger, the wig-wearing alien from American Dad. However, I don’t really find Cumberbatch attractive but I like his acting so I guess I’m Ok with that look.

    • Annie says:

      Agree James D’Arcy would have physically been a better match. Benedict C isn’t babyfaced enough to look like Assange. He looks more like an ET in a bad wig or something out of Harry Potter.

    • Dani says:

      No way! D’Arcy is way too young and waaaaaay too attractive in a pretty way. While I do find Cumberbatch very attractive, he can easily be roughed up, whereas I find it very hard to believe D’Arcy could ever be ugly.

    • ViktoryGin says:

      Didn’t think of him. But it totally works!

      At this point, however, BC is a bigger name than D’arcy will ever be though he is also a very competent actor :-)

  31. Aud says:

    He looks like Lucius Malfoy

  32. Diana says:

    Gross in this look or whatever look he has. Don’t like the dude at all.

  33. Nancypie says:

    No grosser than normal. I don’t get it.

  34. FassDaActor says:

    That wig is BUSTED but I still want to see what he can do with his character. I’m don’t have a crush on Cumby but lets be fair pp. He’s in character. Some of his characters will look…well…BUSTED. I just want a good performance.

  35. Ann says:

    Do not understand the hype about this guy, at all. Don’t find him remotely attractive normally, but here he looks downright fugly.

    Did they hire Twilight’s hair and makeup department for this movie? Because, damn.

  36. Haha says:

    I hardly ever comment here, but for this, I just have to:


    Oh my. This is gonna be BAD.

  37. Kaligula says:

    So sad to see how successfully brainwashed my sister celebitchies have been about Assange. Too easy, too easy.

    • T.Fanty says:

      Possibly an excellent point – we’ll never know. Crying r@pe on an already slightly sleazy guy is the most effective way to vilify him. It gets such a knee-jerk reaction.

      He would be more credible if he martyred himself to the criminal justice system, and would probably have garnered enough support to become an extremely potent political figure. While I want to say the fact that he won’t speaks volumes about his character and somewhat indicts him, if I were in his shoes (and innocent), I wouldn’t hand myself over either. It’s a tough call, because “celebrity” r@pe cases are always so prejudiced against the women, I feel compelled to support anyone that speaks up, but that’s equally naive from the other side.

      • Lucrezia says:

        I don’t think Assange is capable of surrendering to the legal system. But I don’t believe that says anything about his guilt/innocence in this particular matter, it’s just that he’s a paranoid anarchist – surrender to the state? Never!

        (It’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you, but I think Assange has an extra layer of paranoia on top of his sensible-fear, if that makes any sense.)

    • Eve says:

      Don’t worry, Kaligula. Not all celebitches are buying that (I for one am not — I believe he’s innocent). I didn’t say anything simply because I didn’t want to get into a controversy.

      • kaligula says:

        I believe he’s innocent too. The clearest signal of this is how vehemently concerned the global police (yes, Interpol are after him) suddenly are about enforcing the dignity of random female citizens. Do you think every alleged sexual assault perpetrator around the world is being pursued with this much effort?? Answer: NO. Countless cases where men are accused of much more severe allegations, with more consistent accusers and ACTUAL PROOF, and quite frankly, nobody gives a sh**. Just another file on the desk. But somehow the disputable, difficult to even parse, inconsistent and perpetually unclear accusations against Julian Assange justify a worldwide manhunt. Ummmm. No. Anyone who can’t see that something is fishy about this needs to go back to elementary school.

      • Eve says:

        @ Kaligula:

        That’s precisely what I think. We see (even already convicted) child rapists being less pursued than this man. It’s…odd — to say the least.

        We know why they want to catch him, and it’s not about protecting or defending the rights of the women he allegedly attacked.

    • Lucrezia says:

      I don’t like the black & white arguments where he’s either a hero/martyr or a traitor/rapist.

      Depending on which extreme others are arguing I end up playing Devil’s Advocate for other side. It’s hard to express that kind of ambiguity well (without ending up with BOTH sides disagreeing with you), so I tend to keep my mouth shut.

      • kaligula says:

        You sound like a 9 on the enneagram scale. Do you know that personality typing system? It’s pretty interesting, you can take the test online…. Thx 4 replying.

      • Lucrezia says:

        Heh. I wasn’t familiar with that personality-type system, but now that I’ve looked it up, yeah, the hat definitely fits.

        Have you read “The Cypherpunk Revolutionary” article? It’s long, but paints a brilliant picture of a very complex man. Assange comes off as simultaneously brilliant but arrogant. Left-leaning, but disturbingly misogynistic. Honestly passionate about his ideas, but smart enough to play the political PR game, thus manipulative rather than a pure idealist.

        Definitely a grey/ambiguous character rather than a straight hero or villain.

        Which could make for an absolutely fantastic movie, (Cumberbatch is brilliant enough to portray that complexity if he’s given the right direction). Or it could be a horrible, one-sided oversimplification.

  38. Halfmydadsage says:

    I’m going with the minority. I’d still hit it. Yum.

  39. Grace says:

    He’s perfect. He looks on the outside how Julian is on the inside.

  40. blah says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Assange doesn’t look gross?

  41. Camille (TheOriginal) says:

    So incredibly fug AND gross. Yuck.

  42. Val5 says:

    JfC!! the real assange is handsome and hot imo. I have a feeling that this movie will be charge against him … too bad I would see just because Alicia Vikander from “The Royal Affair” I became a big fan of this girl! :-)

  43. ViktoryGin says:

    Oh, Kaiser….

    Assange has always looked “skeevy, terrible, and nihilistic” in a “skeevy, terrible, nihilistic” way.

    BC is an improvement.

    Did I actually say that?

    *Goes to watch hell freeze over*

  44. ViktoryGin says:

    Oh…and Daniel Bruehl. Nice……

  45. Chelsea's handler says:

    Let’s not forget that Julian Assange is a great man and wikileaks has provided an invaluable service to the world.

  46. maria says:

    Burn it with fire and no thanks!

  47. Boo says:

    he doesnt remotely look like assange. and this must be the first time in movie history where the actor who plays the real life character looks less attractive than the real life version..

  48. Eskimo says:

    Good actor but gross look on him. Jeremy Renner should play Julian Assange.

  49. Poopsicle says:

    I really do not see the appeal of this guy… I mean his eyes are beady and his head is huge. He looks like an alien! Can someone tell me why the hell anyone would want to do him???

    • Gemini08 says:

      I didn’t get it either until I heard him SPEAK and saw him in the BBC Sherlock Holmes series. He is SEXY and hot- just not in a conventional way.

  50. Saha says:

    He better nail the Australian accent – us Aussies are very picky about anyone from overseas doing our accent. Brits do it better than Americans so he might be ok!

    He’s also not techinically the first portrayal – we’ve already had a telemovie in Aus, although it was about Assange’s teenage years. Assange is big news in Australia.

  51. Mrs. Darcy says:

    So creeeepy. Seriously the stuff of nightmares. I’m sure he’ll be amazing but I don’t fancy him at all, well maybe a teensy bit in Sherlock, def not in creepy Assange mode though.

  52. telesma says:

    Both creepy and dead on. I like Assange and respect what he does, but I think he’s creepy looking. I think Cumberbatch can pull it off. I really don’t think Renner could have.

  53. binturong says:

    Well, well, check out Assange’s comments on this film:

    “The famous whistleblower, who managed to obtain a copy of the script…” BWAHAHAHAHAHA

  54. Victoria says:

    Aaahhh… would a Cumby by any other name still smell as sweet…? I Indeed…think so

  55. Socks says:

    I’ve always found Assange quite attractive, and Cumberbatch is as well, but that goofy-looking wig just kills it for me.

  56. Gemini08 says:

    Assange IS gross so this is spot on. Too bad that wig ruins Benedict’s own hotness.