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Trailer for WikiLeaks movie 'The Fifth Estate' debuts online

The two-and-a-minute preview gives us our first real view of actor Benedict Cumberbatch channeling WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Julian Assange.
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Julian Assange. YouTube/Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Does the actor who played the villain in "Star Trek Into Darkness" make a convincing Julian Assange? Judge for yourself courtesy of the new trailer for "The Fifth Estate," an upcoming film about WikiLeaks and its controversial founder.

Popping up on YouTube on Tuesday, the lengthy trailer serves up a variety of scenes from the movie.

We see the anger from U.S. government officials over WikiLeaks' posting of classified documents. We watch the budding rapport between Assange and former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a relationship that eventually turned sour. And we catch a silhouette of Assange and a woman undressing, perhaps hinting at his future troubles over allegations of sexual misconduct.

"The Fifth Estate" is based on two different books, according to Mashable. One is "Inside WikiLeaks," written by Domscheit-Berg, while the other is "WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy" written by two reporters from British newspaper The Guardian.

According to director Bill Condon, "the crux of the movie" is the relationship between Assange and Domscheit-Berg.

"We felt as though the story of Daniel, this kind of everyman, this guy who comes into WikiLeaks, joins up with Julian when it's already up and going, and ultimately he's there for the two-year period when it really explodes, and then has a falling out -- that was a good way for us to explain not only what WikiLeaks is about, but also explain the bigger issues," Condon told Mashable.

Condon and the scriptwriters apparently reached out to several key people at WikiLeaks as they fashioned the script. Assange himself proved difficult to snare, though Benedict Cumberbatch managed to strike up an ongoing online conversation with the man he portrays, with help from a few mutual friends.

"The Fifth Estate" is due to reach theaters in October.