THE FIFTH ESTATE is an upcoming film about the news-leaking website WikiLeaks starring Benedict Cumberbatch as its editor-in-chief and founder Julian Assange with Daniel Brühl as the former spokesperson of the website Daniel Domscheit-Berg. It is directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Kinsey) with a screenplay by Josh Singer based in part on Domscheit-Berg’s book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World’s Most Dangerous Website, as well as WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy by British journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding. The ensemble also including Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Peter Capaldi, Carice van Houten, Dan Stevens, with Stanley Tucci, and Laura Linney.
The story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world’s most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society—and what are the costs of exposing them?