Here’s something a bit dishy for a summer afternoon. I’ve heard that Jeremy Renner, about to open in The Bourne Legacy, is looking hard at playing Julian Assange in the WikiLeaks film being developed by DreamWorks. The studios is also having conversations with Twilight Saga‘s Bill Condon about directing, though nothing is set on either front. I had also heard that the WikiLeaks film might move toward independent financing. Word from the studio is that DreamWorks is keeping its project, but as usual won’t comment on development that has been ongoing since DreamWorks acquired the books WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy, by David Leigh and Luke Harding, and Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website, by Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Josh Singer wrote the script.
Renner, coming off two Oscar-nominated performances in The Hurt Locker and The Town and moving toward stardom with Bourne Legacy, seems an inspired choice with the chops to play the prickly and complex Assange. Assange launched WikiLeaks in 2006 and established himself as a major thorn in the side of governments for leaking embarrassing diplomatic cables and secrets. He has been dealing with his own legal travails, as Sweden wants to try him for sexually assaulting two women and the U.S. wants to prosecute him for leaking classified documents, after it arrested an Army soldier for allegedly providing Assange with the goods. Assange most recently sought asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in the UK as he tries to avoid going back to Sweden.
Even though the third act hasn’t played out, all of that drama has led to several studios developing Assange films. Universal and Marc Shmuger have an Alex Gibney-directed documentary, while HBO, Universal and Megan Ellison are also working on films. Renner recently replaced Christian Bale in the David O Russell-directed Abscam film that had been known under the working title American Bullshit. Renner’s repped by CAA and Untitled. Singer’s repped by WME and Anonymous Content.