September 16, 2013 - 12:19 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed that Julian Assange asked him not to take part in the WikiLeaks film, Digital Spy said.
The actor, who portrays Assange in The Fifth Estate, received a ten-page email from the WikiLeaks founder before he started shooting the project in January.
"It was a very considered, thorough, charming and intelligent account of why he thought this was morally wrong for me to be part of something he thought was going to be damaging in real terms - not just to perceptions but to the reality of the outcome for himself," Cumberbatch told The Guardian.
"He characterised himself as a political refugee, and with [Chelsea] Manning awaiting trial, and other supporters of WikiLeaks who have been detained or might be awaiting detention, and the organisation itself - all of that being under threat if I took part in this film."
He added: "Of course [I wobbled]. The fact that it was coming from the man himself, the day before we started filming? Of course I would hear and feel the protests of the man I was about to pretend to be. I'm a human being.
"I said, 'This film is going to explore what you achieved, what brought you to the world's attention, in a way that I think is nothing but positive. I admit to doing work because I'm a vain actor... yet I'm not acting in a moral vacuum. I have considered this, and whatever happens I want to give as much complexity and understanding of you as I can'."
According to Daily Mail, asked about Manning – who was sentenced last month to 35 years in prison for leaking documents to WikiLeaks, after which she announced she wished to live as a woman – Cumberbatch said he was not convinced that the army private should be granted the presidential pardon for which she has now appealed, on grounds she took and broke an oath.
While alarmed by the revelations of state surveillance disclosed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, the actor admitted he was also ambivalent about disclosing secrets.
“If they are saving lives, how can we say that's less important than civil liberties? You don't have any civil liberties if you're dead.”