Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dreamworks options two Wikileaks books (but not Spielberg)

After the rush of Wikileaks deals announced around Sundance, Dreamworks threw its hat into the ring and optioned two books about Wikileaks

Initial speculation swirled about whether Spielberg would be involved.  Sources now say that this is not a Spielberg project, but anything could change.  If Spielberg gets involved then this would clearly become the largest Wikileaks movie project out there. 

Otherwise, there is not yet too much information available about this project.  Dreamworks bought rights to the books Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website (Daniel Domscheit-Berg) and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy (David Leigh and Luke Harding).  The latter book is by two journalists who worked with Assange to get early "leaks" into print through the newspaper The Guardian, so they may have a unique inside perspective.

No word yet on director, producer, or style.

Impact Rating: *** or ***** (3/5 stars without Spielberg, 5/5 with)
Politics Rating: Unknown
Timing Rating: Big-budget movies take time

Marc Shmuger and Alex Gibney (Universal) Wikileaks Movie

On January 21, 2011, news broke that Marc Shmuger and Alex Gibney would be making a new movie about Wikileaks under the Universal Studios banner.  The pair announced at Sundance that the studio optioned a book and would be co-producing the movie.

This is an interesting twist for Universal in that "big uni" (rather than the more documentary-oriented Focus Features) is producing the project.  It suggests that the still-unnamed Wikileaks documentary will get teh big-budget treatment, rather than just an indie-style gloss.  It also means that the politics of the piece will be tied up in Universal's politics, for better or worse.

This is Marc Shmuger's first project after ending his term as head of Universal, and many are curious as to whether his rebound will be successful.  On the other hand, Alex Gibney is coming off a series of successes (like Client 9, his story of Eliot Spitzer's fall from grace).

Impact Rating: TBD
Politics Rating: ???

Timing Rating: Later

HBO wikileaks movie project

On January 24, 2011, it was revealed that HBO is making a movie about Julian Assange.  The HBO film will be direct-to-TV and is based on Raffi Khatchadourian's article in the New Yorker.  The movie will focus on Mr. Assange's life, both before and during the Wikileaks era.
If past HBO productions are any guide, HBO will take an aggressive political angle and use powerful documentary techniques to portray Julian Assange as a polarizing figure.  HBO has traditionally pulled no punches, and tends to lean liberal in its political portrayals (although there are plenty of exceptions). 

The project is being produced by Joshua Maurer and Alixandre Witlin (each of City Entertainment) and the legendary David Stern (KippSter Entertainment). 

I'm interesting in seeing this one, not just becaue it might be first to market, but because it could be shocking and raw in its treatment of subjects like Assange's allegations of sexual misconduct and the Bradley Manning issue.  I think some of the other films might skip the Manning bits because they are still too current and political.

Impact Rating: * * * * (4/5 stars)
Politics Rating: Incindiary
Timing Rating: Sooner than later

Welcome to Rebels of the Wiki

This site will serve as a clearinghouse for all the news available about the many Wikileaks movie projects out there.  It is not affiliated with any of the projects, and is instead intended to just provide information to anyone with an interest in Julian Assange or Wikileaks. 

We don't take an opinion on this blog about whether Wikileaks is good or bad; but it certainly is starting a lot of interest on the silver screen.

Find out more about each Wikileaks movie in our upcoming posts.