First Look at Sherlock Star Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange

Production has officially begun on That WikiLeaks Movie with Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch. Now known as The Fifth Estate – presumably to avoid having to pay the licensing fee to David Bowie to use previously rumored title The Man Who Sold the World - the film is set to dramatize the controversial life of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after the 2006 launch of the WikiLeaks website. (Personally I’m rather sad about the loss of the previous title, if only because it seems a much better fit.)

Written by The West Wing alum Josh Singer, the film is based on the books Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website and Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy. Bill Condon, most recently of The Twilight Saga, is directing and has assembled an all-star cast that’s positively bursting with familiar faces and talent, including Daniel Bruhl, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackenzie, David Thewlis, Peter Capaldi, Dan Stevens and more. Translation: it’s got “awards bait” written all over it.

Still and all though, since this movie is basically the reason that production on Sherlock Series 3 got pushed back, it better be excellent, right? Weigh in for yourself below and get your first look at Cumberbatch as Assange – yes, complete with trademark white-blonde hair. It’s a bit of an adjustment to be sure (and a look that I doubt will set many teenage girls screaming a la his appearance in Star Trek), but oddly, creepily Cumberbatch really does looks like Assange. It’s merely unfortunate that Assange himself is, in fact, a bit creepy looking. See the larger version below. 

No sign of Downton Abbey star Stevens yet, but here’s hoping he doesn’t quite look as much like a missing member of Nirvana. Though I believe that he’s playing a hacker, which pretty much guarantees he’ll be wearing some sort of plaid or large rimmed glasses, if popular culture has taught me anything. (I kid, I kid; I love everyone involved in this movie. But, still.)