Belfast Telegraph

Cumberbatch: Fans have my back

Benedict Cumberbatch has joked that his fans will save him from the wrath of Julian Assange.

The Sherlock star has the lead role in the Wikileaks film The Fifth Estate, which Assange has previously criticised as a "propaganda attack".

Benedict joked to Entertainment Weekly that his followers would protect him if the Wikileaks founder attacks the film.

He quipped: "I'm sure he'll go after me... I'm not a bank with offshore accounts in the Canaries, I don't fiddle my taxes, I'm not wanted for war crimes. If he goes after me, it's going to be a waste of his extraordinary talent!"

He added: "But if he does, I kind of respect that because he needs to be able to answer back. Anyway, the Cumberb*****s have got my back, so I'll be fine."

Benedict also insisted he doesn't want to cause upset with his performance.

"I hope if I've done well, I've probably humanised someone that many people only think of in tabloid headline terms. He's an extraordinary figure. The movie was just the opportunity to try and unlock a little about who he is and what motivates him," he said.

"I don't want to upset him. So if I do, it will be distressing. But he knows that. I have communicated that to him, let's put it like that. It's not like we've had a correspondence, but I've made it known to him that I'm not some kind of devious character assassination where I play him as a villain."

The Fifth Estate also stars Laura Linney, Daniel Bruhl, Stanley Tucci, David Thewlis, Peter Capaldi, Dan Stevens and Alicia Vikander and is partly based on Guardian writers David Leigh and Luke Harding's book WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War On Secrecy.

It is to be released in UK cinemas on January 1, 2014.

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