Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Julian Assange in the fictionalized WikiLeaks film The Fifth Estate, says Assange's unhappiness with the movie gave him pause but ultimately strengthened his resolve.
The WikiLeaks founder, who is a fan of Cumberbatch, had publicly asked the actor to step down from the film because it is "a work of political opportunism, influence, revenge and, above all, cowardice." It is also based on two books Assange considers to be "toxic" and "biased."
The words did have some impact on the actor, who responded to Assange's comments today during a question-and-answer 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," Cumberbatch writes. "This project was important to me because of the integrity I wanted to bring to provocative difficult but ultimately timely and a truly important figure of our modern times."
"It galvanized me into addressing why I was doing this movie."
Cumberbatch goes on to say that the film was more hard work than it was profitable for him, in response to Assange calling him a "hired gun." The actor adds that he is "proud" to be involved, which he may regret when the movie actually comes out in a week: reviews have been negative, giving it a 51 percent score on Metacritic.