One of many films about the WikiLeaks scandal and/or founder Julian Assange currently in development is now moving forward. We previously knew that Benedict Cumberbatch was set to play Assange in DreamWorks’ adaptation of Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website with Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Twilight: Breaking Dawn) looking to direct, and now it appears that the second lead role has been filled. Variety reports that James McAvoy will star alongside Cumberbatch as Domscheit-Berg, Assange’s right hand man. Hit the jump for more on the film.
We recently heard that Joel Kinnaman might be in consideration for the role, but Variety reports that it’s now McAvoy’s for the taking. The effects of Assange’s work have been polarzing, but this film is expected to portray the man “as a noble crusader who eventually becomes drunk with power as he grows increasingly paranoid and obsessed with winning the ‘war of information.’”
Domscheit-Berg eventually left Assange (before the major U.S. leak) after feeling that he failed to display journalist integrity. It’s not hard to see Cumberbatch and McAvoy having some great chemistry, and under the direction of Condon hopefully we’ll get an intricate character study rather than a flashy melodrama. Production is set to begin early next year, though it will have to work around McAvoy’s busy schedule for the X-Men: First Class sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past, which recently had a director swap. Producer Bryan Singer—who helmed X-Men and X2—will fill the director’s chair vacated by First Class helmer Matthew Vaughn.