Benedict Cumberbatch says Julian Assange is a hero ‘in many ways’

Actor plays the WikiLeaks founder in new film 'The Fifth Estate'

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch has described WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a hero “in many ways”, after playing the controversial figure in a new film.

Cumberbatch assumes Assange’s role in the movie The Fifth Estate, which charts the growth of WikiLeaks along with Assange and his right hand man Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who is played by Daniel Bruhl. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday night (September 6).

Speaking to Rolling Stone after the premiere, Cumberbatch discussed his thoughts on Assange. “Is he a hero? In many ways,” he said. “I think that’s part of what I admire. He turned an idea into a reality – one that’s still affecting our lives and the way we view mainstream media. What he’s shaken up is fascinating. It’s an ongoing debate – we’ll see how it pans out – but I’m full of admiration of him.”

His co-star Bruhl also explained the storyline of the film to the publication, stating: “[The film] deals with issues that concern every one of us, like freedom of information. It’s not a black and white movie, it’s not a movie against Julian Assange and it’s not an anti-WikiLeaks film.”

Julian Assange is currently in political asylum at the Ecudorian embassy in London, where he has resided for a year and a half. He is wanted by Swedish authorities to answer questions relating to accusations he raped one woman and sexually molested another whilst in Stockholm in August 2010.

Directed by Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga), The Fifth Estate is released in the UK on October 11.