It’s one of the hottest, most timely of topics, and now WikiLeaks may have met the face of its Hollywood immortalization. Deadline reports Dreamworks Studios is eyeing Jeremy Renner to star as controversial founder Julian Assange in a big screen retelling of the formation of the whistleblowing organization. Additionally, the studio is also said to be in negotiations with Oscar-winning director Bill Condon to step behind the camera.
The studio purchased the rights to two WikiLeaks related books in preparation for their film, “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website” by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former WikiLeaks executive, and “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy” by David Leigh and Luke Harding, British journalists who worked at The Guardian and helped Assanage publish his first findings.
Naturally, Dreamworks are not the only film company seeking to tell Assange’s story. The man himself has been contracted to write his own memoirs, with screen rights being handled by CAA, though that may be years down the line as he’s still embroiled in legal issues from several different angles. “The Hurt Locker” writer Mark Boal has also optioned “The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”, which examines Assange’s dealings with The New York Times, and Universal Pictures will stick to just the facts, picking up a documentary on the subject. But it appears Dreamworks, perhaps with Condon and Renner in tow, will have the head start on the dramatization side.
If a deal comes together, the polarizing Assange will be right up Renner’s alley, who has proven himself capable of the kind of gravitas it takes to not only convincingly play complex characters but also have the charisma to headline high profile studio fare. Already having earned his indie cred with Oscar-nominated roles in “The Hurt Locker” and “The Town”, he’s moving into that blockbuster becoming-a-movie-star phase of his career with roles in “The Avengers” and soon to be released “The Bourne Legacy.” Something like this WikiLeaks film – and the upcoming David O. Russell directed (soon to be retitled) “American Bullshit” opposite Bradley Cooper – seems to hit the sweet spot between both extremes.