Principal photography has begun on the WikiLeaks drama The Fifth Estate, it was announced today by DreamWorks Studios. The film about the controversial website stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange and Daniel Brühl as Daniel Domscheit-Berg, as well as Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Peter Capaldi, Dan Stevens, Alicia Vikander and Carice van Houten.
The Fifth Estate will open in U.S. theaters on November 15, 2013 and be distributed domestically by Disney’s Touchstone label. Distribution internationally will be split among Disney, DreamWorks partner Reliance, and deals made through the studio’s partnership with Mister Smith Entertainment.
Following Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Brühl), an early supporter and eventual colleague of Julian Assange (Cumberbatch), The Fifth Estate traces the heady, early days of WikiLeaks, culminating in the release of a series of controversial and history changing information leaks. The website’s overnight success brought instant fame to its principal architects and transformed the flow of information to news media and the world at large.
Joining DreamWorks as a co-financier on The Fifth Estate is Participant Media. This will be the fifth collaboration between the two companies who previously partnered on Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, the 2011 Academy Award-winning smash The Help, The Kite Runner and The Soloist.
Bill Condon (Kinsey, Dreamgirls, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) will direct The Fifth Estate from a screenplay by Josh Singer (TV’s “Fringe,” “The West Wing”), based on “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. The producers are Steve Golin and Michael Sugar, with Participants Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King joining Richard Sharkey as executive producers. The Fifth Estate is a coproduction between Afterworks and FBO, with Hilde De Laere co-producing for FBO. The film is supported by the Belgian Tax Shelter for Audiovisual Production.
Said director Bill Condon, “It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it’s revolutionized the spread of information. So this film won’t claim any long view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment. We want to explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information age and, we hope, enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked.”