Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Reel People: Benedict Cumberbatch is Julian Assange

The film is The Fifth Estate. The film is directed by Bill Condon. The script is written by Josh Singer based on the books Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website by Daniel Domscheit-Berg and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy by David Leigh and Luke Harding.

Julian Assange

Julian Assange was born July 3, 1971 in Queensland, Australia. His biological father, John Shipton, met his mother on the way to a Vietnam War demonstration, and broke up before Julian was born. When Julian was one, his mother Christine married theater director Richard Brett Assange.

Julian and his mother traveled around Australia regularly, living with family and in part due to the traveling touring company Christine and Richard were a part of. His mother would also remarry, give birth to his half-brother and then try to stay in hiding from his half-brother's father for five years, leading Julian to be moved even more.

At the age of 16, Julian began hacking computers under the name Mendax with an "ethical" standard of not crashing systems and not changing information (except to remove tracks). Yet, he did believe in sharing the information.

In 1989 Julian Assange was married and had a son, Daniel Assange. They would divorce a few years later and engage in a lengthy custody battle lasting throughout the next decade.

Meanwhile, in 1991 when the Australian Federal Police discovered Mendax and connected the user to Assange in a hack on Nortel his phone was tapped and home raided.

In 1993 Julian Assange was busy creating one of the first public Internet service providers in Australia.

In 1995 Julian Assange plead guilty to 25 charges of hijacking, but the court released him with minimal charges based on Assanges lack of harm and the judge's sympathy of Assange's childhood.

While continuing to develop software and free-ware he also helped write Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness, and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier in 1997 which he was only created as a researcher.

In 1999 he registered the domain leaks.com but didn't do anything with it.

He started a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Melbourne in Computer Science which he worked on from 2002-2005, but never finished.

In 2006, he launched WikiLeaks, although he prefers to be called an editor as opposed to founder or creator. In 2006 he wrote blog post outlining the values of leaking information of secretive and unjust organizations, but by 2010 had released numerous classified and non-public documents.

Assange became prominent in the news specifically in November 2010 when Assange began releasing 251,000 American diplomatic cables. In December of 2010 the Department of Justice began investigations including subpoenas to those who might have information, including Twitter. Also at this time Assange's financial accounts were frozen. Assange sold publishing writes of his autobiography in order to get cash during this time.

As the investigation continued, additional allegations came forward of sexual assault earlier in the year in Sweden.

Assange would eventually arrange for political asylum in Ecuador where he currently resides.

The Fifth Estate

The film The Fifth Estate tells the story of WikiLeaks and Assange's involvement.

In addition to Benedict Cumberbatch playing Assange, the film also stars Daniel Brühl as German activist and WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg, David Thewlis as reporter Nick Davies, as well as Stanley Tucci, Laura Linney, and Anthony Mackie.

Could Benedict Cumberbatch in this modern-biopic receive an Oscar nomination, maybe even a win, for portraying this Real (Reel) Person?