Photo: Via Entertainment Weekly.
Benedict Cumberbatch has nothing to hide. During an AMA session on Reddit yesterday, the actor poised to play Julian Assange, in the upcoming film The Fifth Estate, addressed his recent exchange with the Wikileaks founder, as well as some other pressing issues (i.e. Nutella vs. Marmite).
Last month, the organization leaked a copy of the film's script and blasted it as "irresponsible, counterproductive and harmful." In January, Cumberbatch received a letter from Assange himself, criticizing the film. The Fifth Estate, Assange wrote, "is based on a deceitful book by someone who has a vendetta against me and my organisation." (The film was adapted from Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World’s Most Dangerous Website.) "It does not seek to simplify, clarify or distil the truth, but rather it seeks to bury it," he continued, in his note to Cumberbatch. He adds that he believes the actor is a good person but that he should "[consider] the consequences to people who may fall into harm because of this film." Words like that should give any actor pause.
Cumberbatch responded to the letter quite thoughtfully during his AMA session on Reddit. "To have the man you are about to portray ask you intelligently and politely not to do it gave me real cause for concern, however, it galvanized me into addressing why I was doing this movie," wrote Cumberbatch. "He accuses me of being a 'hired gun' as if I am an easily bought cypher for right wing propaganda."
The actor went on to say that he decided to take the role in The Fifth Estate — a "powerful, if dramatized entry point" for talking about WikiLeaks — because the subject matter was important to everyone. "I'm proud to be involved in tackling such a contentious character and script. There is only personal truth in my opinion, and the film should provoke debate and not consensus."
Cumberbatch's AMA wasn't all doom and gloom, though. He kindly asked that his fans not call themselves "Cumberspawn" and that he hopes to appear alongside Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street. When asked about his strangest encounter with a fan, he wrote: "Ted Danson at a pre-Oscar party screaming across a floor of people like Leonardo DiCaprio, Ray Liotta, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, et al while pushing past them and knocking their drinks. 'OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! IT'S FU**ING SHERLOCK HOLMES!'"