Steven Spielberg looks set to oversee WikiLeaks: the Movie after securing the screen rights to WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, the book by Guardian journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding. Reportedly conceived as an investigative thriller in the mould of All the President’s Men, the film will be backed by DreamWorks – the studio founded in 1994 by Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.
Leigh and Harding’s book charts Julian Assange's turbulent life and times, from his itinerant childhood through to the creation of the WikiLeaks website in 2006. It also provides the inside story of Assange’s explosive partnership with the Guardian newspaper and the release, last December, of over 250,000 secret diplomatic cables.
Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief, Guardian News & Media, said: “The Guardian’s unique collaboration with WikiLeaks led to what some have described as one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years.” Discussing the proposed film, Rusbridger added: “It’s Woodward and Bernstein meets Stieg Larsson meets Jason Bourne. Plus the odd moment of sheer farce and, in Julian Assange, a compelling character who goes beyond what any Hollywood scriptwriter would dare to invent.”
In addition to snapping up the Leigh and Harding bestseller, DreamWorks have also secured rights to another book, Inside WikiLeaks, by Assange’s former colleague, Daniel Domscheit-Berg. This has led insiders to speculate that DreamWorks executives are planning a heavily fictionalised thriller that cherry-picks from a variety of sources.
Well, well. Could it be that Spielberg read my review of the two books –in which I observed, en passant, that “David Leigh and Luke Harding have produced an All the President’s Men for our times”? Surely not.