Posted on Friday, November 9th, 2012 by Angie Han
Julian Assange is Australian, and his former right-hand man Daniel Domscheit-Berg is German, but it seems both will be portrayed by UK citizens in the movies. Bill Condon‘s developing WikiLeaks movie cast white-hot Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch as WikiLeaks founder Assange last month, and now James McAvoy looks likely to take the role of disillusioned WikiLeaks spokesperson Domscheit-Berg.
The film is based on two books, Domscheit-Berg’s tell-all Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website and journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding‘s WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy. More after the jump.
McAvoy’s casting comes weeks after a rumor circulated that The Killing actor Joel Kinnaman been in “conversation” for the part of Domscheit-Berg. However, Variety’s Jeff Sneider now indicates that earlier reports were premature, and that Kinnaman was never officially attached. McAvoy has co-starred with Cumberbatch twice previously, on Joe Wright’s Atonement and the David Nicholls adaptation Starter for 10 (the latter of which is pictured above).
The still-unraveling story of WikiLeaks started with Assange’s founding of the whistleblowing organization in 2006. Domscheit-Berg became its spokesperson not long afterward, having been introduced to Assange at the Chaos Computer Club’s 2007 conference. Initially, Domscheit-Berg was drawn in by Assange’s ideology. However, he grew increasingly disenchanted with Assange’s leadership, and the pair had a falling out in 2010. Inside WikiLeaks was published in 2011.
Assange started as a computer hacker activist in his youth before rising to international fame with WikiLeaks. Currently, he is fighting charges over his U.S. diplomatic cables leak, as well as accusations of sexual assault. His story has captured the imagination of more than a few film and TV makers. In addition to Condon’s biopic, there’s HBO Films’ adaptation of the New Yorker article No Secrets: Julian Assange’s Mission for Total Transparency; Annapurna Pictures’ adaptation of the NYT piece The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest; and Universal’s documentary by Alex Gibney.
The script for Condon’s version was written by Josh Singer (The West Wing), and will likely portray Assange as an idealistic crusader who becomes corrupted by power and caves to paranoia and obsession. A start date has not yet been announced, but production will be scheduled around McAvoy commitment to X-Men: Days of Future Past.