WikiLeaks founder blasts upcoming film about him

Julian Assange addresses the Oxford Union via video-link from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Jan. 23, 2013. AP Photo/Philip Toscano

(CBS News) LONDON - Here's a story WikiLeaks doesn't want told: Julian Assange, the founder of the online organization dedicated to exposing secrets, is leading a campaign against a new Hollywood movie. The subject? Assange himself.

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person, but if you give him a mask, he will tell you the truth," said actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange from the upcoming movie "The Fifth Estate."

Benedict Cumberbatch (as Julian Assange), left, and Daniel Bruhl (as Daniel Domscheit-Berg) are seen during the filming of the WikiLeaks drama "The Fifth Estate" in Reykjavik, Iceland.
AP Photo/Frank Connor/DreamWorks Studios

Assange been called a hero and a traitor, a selfless crusader, and a paranoid egomaniac. The Hollywood version is all of those things.

"The Fifth Estate," is based partly on a memoir by former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg. It covers the early days of the secret-spilling website, the organization's mass leak of U.S. military and diplomatic documents, and the aftermath.

The film has already made Assange -- still holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London -- so angry, he's launched an all-out WikiLeaks war against it. He leaked, then critiqued screenplays. He begged actor Cumberbatch not to take the role.

Julian Assange addresses the Oxford Union via video-link from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Jan. 23, 2013.
AP Photo/Philip Toscano

He told Cumberbatch: "You will be used as a hired gun.....to present me as someone morally compromised," and called the film "political opportunism, revenge and, above all, cowardice."

Assange said the film simply isn't accurate. This weekend he released his own movie online. The documentary, called "Mediastan," is about WikiLeak's documents, and what newspapers chose to print-- the real story according to Assange.

Critic David Edelstein has seen both movies and understands Assange's anger. "I'm not an apologist for WikiLeaks," he said, "but if I were him from his perspective, the movie is a takedown."

"The Fifth Estate"'s creators said the movie was never meant to be taken literally, and they've even given the character of Assange the last word: "If you want the truth, you have to seek it out for yourself."

  • Kelly Cobiella

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