WikiLeaks Leaks WikiLeaks Movie Script

In a wonderful example of “snake eating it’s own tail” cultural inversion, WikiLeaks have wikileaked the script to the WikiLeaks movie The Fifth Estate, and released a damning (and lengthy) internal memo, labelling the film “irresponsible, counterproductive and harmful,” and “a work of fiction masquerading as fact”. The memo goes on to say “Most of the events depicted never happened, or the people shown were not involved in them. It has real names, real places, and looks like it is covering real events, but it is still a dramatic and cinematic work, and it invents or shapes the facts to fit its narrative goals.”

The Fifth Estate stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the enigmatic whistleblower, unsuccessful political hopeful and founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange. WikiLeaks was not involved with the production of the film, although it has been noted that Assange begged Cumberbatch not to make the film in a brief email exchange.

WikiLeaks have provided a point-by-point explanation of everything it deems wrong with the film – from criticisms of the source material (The Fifth Estate is based on two books, both written by people who had personal and legal disputes with WikiLeaks… These authors had an interest in portraying Julian Assange as dishonest or manipulative for competitive, personal and legal reasons.”) to disputing the allegations that information leaked by WikiLeaks caused harm in informants (“…the US government was unable to present any evidence of anyone coming to harm as a consequence of the WikiLeaks publications.”), even rebuffing the idea that Julian Assange dyes his hair (Does he or doesn’t he? Only his hairdresser knows for sure).

Australian director Robert Connolly has previously brought part of Julian Assange’s early life to the screen in the telemovie Underground: The Julian Assange Story. WikiLeaks was similarly uninvolved with Underground, but Assange reportedly “had a very favourable response to the movie”, and mentions it in the Fifth Estate memo.

The Fifth Estate premiered at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month, and will be released in October. One thing’s for sure – Any Julian Assange movie has to be better that this one:


Want to meet Karl Stefanovic? Click here for the chance to have beers with the Jester of breakfast television.