Steven Spielberg has bought the screen rights to “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy,” causing media speculation that the director intends to adapt the controversial story for the big screen. Spielberg’s company DreamWorks, will back the production, based on the book by Guardian journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding. The book reportedly recounts the life of Assange from childhood, depicting both the conception and aftermath of his website creation in 2006. Officials close to the project report that his character “goes beyond what any Hollywood scriptwriter would dare to invent.” The website is a nonprofit project, publishing a variety of documents that allege to unveil corporate and government misconduct. The site sparked international controversy as critics declared that the publishing of classified documents posed a major threat to national security. The site has reportedly published several confidential documents on multiple occasions with relation to the Iraq and Afghan war, in addition to other international topics of interest.
Purchase of the rights to tell the story comes on the heels of the site’s public nomination for a 2011 Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian Legislator, Snorre Valen. Valen stated that he nominated the website for the honor because in his opinion, “it is important to raise a debate about freedom of expression.” Valen explained that the “truth is always the first casualty in war,” where WikiLeaks is striving “to make governments accountable for their actions and that contributes to peace.” Last year’s honor was given to Liu Xiabao in recognition of his “struggle for human rights, democracy and freedom of speech in China.” Valen believes that Wikileaks has continued that spirit and struggle globally, “exposing (among many other things) corruption, war crimes and torture.” Officials have stated that they doubt that the website will actually win the prestigious award due to the criticism it has received.
With a Spielberg movie in the works, the website’s controversy is unlikely to fade. The film project is still in its beginning phases, though sources have stated that it will likely be an “investigative thriller.” The search is on for a scriptwriter, a cast, and an ending as compelling as the characters themselves.