Benedict Cumberbatch’s WikiLeaks Movie is Coming to Theaters This Fall

Benedict Cumberbatch can do no wrong. The strangely beautiful and fiercely talent Englishman first made us fall into love with him in the BBC version of Sherlock last year, and in the coming months we’ll see his villainous turn in Star Trek. But it’s DreamWorks that’s currently prepping their WikiLeaks movie with Breaking Dawn director Bill Condon leading the picture. Now titled The Fifth Estate the film is currently in production with Cumberbatch starring as Julian Assange and Daniel Bruhl as WikiLeaks co-founder Daniel Domscheit-Berg. The Fifth Estate, based on the books Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy with a script from Josh Singer of The West Wing, looks to be shaping up to Sorkin-esque proportions.

With shooting still underway, DreamWorks has already set a release date for the project—a cozy November 15th premiere, hitting the prime award season sweet spot. The cast will be rounded out with the great Peter Capaldi and the stately Dan Stevens, as well as Anthony Mackie, Alicia Vikander, and Laura Linney. With a cast like this, it’s difficult to go wrong—but again, it’s difficult to judge how this will all pan out from the man who brought us the final saga of Bella and Edward. At least we get a bleach-blonde Benedict, right?

Photo via Indiewire

‘Gangster Squad’ Cast Gets a Noir Makeover

2012 has been an interesting year for cinema—both for Hollywood and independent film. We’ve fallen in love with indie wonders and foreign hits like Beasts of the Southern Wild, Sound of My Voice, and Holy Motors, while still getting swept up in Silver Linings Playbook, The Master, and Argo. But as it’s only the second week in December, there’s still Django Unchained, Amour, and Les Miz (set to be released in the coming weeks) to keep us rolling into theaters. But between January’s Sundance Film Festival and the slew of films to be released in the late winter months, we’re looking to the New Year with savory anticipation. And one of the films that seems as if we’ve been waiting forever for to see is Ruben Fleischer’s nod to old Hollywood, Gangster Squad.

After a few set backs along the way—with necessary reshoots, a reworked finale, and marketing change—the film will finally burst into theatres on January 11 and we’re excited to see what the cast of leading men and Emma Stone (in a role that looks to be a more siren-esque than we’ve seen her before) will deliver for us. The 1949-set gangster film stars Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Michael Peña, Giovanni Ribisi, and Anthony Mackie in a flashy shoot-em-up crowd-pleaser that tells the story of LAPD officers fighting to keep the East Coast mafia off their golden streets.

As an added promotional bonus for the film, photographer Estevan Oriol rounded up the cast for a series of minimalistically stylish and slick black and white portraits that harken back to the leading men of classic noir. But looking at these great photos, you can’t help but wonder—what if Fleischer had chosen to shoot the film with this aesthetic? What if the film was filled with some Gordon Willis-esque shadowplay and say, Cliff Martinez and Max Richter covering the music for the film? What if he took the pacing down a notch, with less explosions and thrills and more smokey simmering? Damn, that would have been good. But maybe this will be too! I have only seen the trailers afterall. Either way, check out the photos from the shoot and two additional featurettes

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The ‘8 Mile’ Cast Reunites for 10th Anniversary

Can you believe it’s been ten years since the release of 8 Mile? Eminem’s first (and only) film was a hit, earning the rapper an Oscar for Best Original Song (it’s a shame Eminem didn’t show up to the awards ceremony to pick up his trophy from surprised presenter Barbra Streisand). Our friends at Vibe got the 8 Mile cast together (including Eminem, Mekhi Phifer, Anthony Mackie, Evan Jones, and Omar Benson Miller) to reminisce for the October/November issue. Check it out!

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Anthony Mackie on Playing Tupac & Hating Smelly Europeans

Somewhat surprisingly, biopic-happy Hollywood lacks a movie recounting the legendary but brief life of Tupac Shakur. The slain rapper is uncannily suited for the celluloid treatment, with his firebrand rapper-as-revolutionary persona, his frequent brushes with the law, and an early death that saw him ascend to both myth and martyr. If he ever does get his own movie (and he probably will), a good bet to play him might be Anthony Mackie, who portrayed the rapper in a play written by his Julliard classmate; Mackie’s donning the bandanna again in Notorious, a film about Tupac’s friend and foe, The Notorious B.I.G.. Mackie met up with me at the W Hotel in Union Square to discuss embodying Tupac for a second time, leftover street booty, and why pungent Eurotrash are ruining New York nightlife.

This is your second time playing Tupac. How did this differ from the first time? It was very different. Playing him on film is extremely different than doing it on stage. I wanted to show more of who he actually was to the people around him. Tupac at this time was fresh coming off of Juice, at the top of his game, and just living it up. And everything was just all good. This was way before the sex abuse case. I wanted to show how much joy went into making his music.

This movie tells Biggie’s story and clears him of any implication in the East Coast/West Coast rivalry; it portrays Tupac as responsible for igniting the tensions. Do you think a Tupac biopic would tell a different story? Of course. The great thing about this movie is that it’s called Notorious. It’s from the perspective of Biggie, so if you go talk to Suge Knight, if you talk to anybody on the West Coast, if you could talk to ‘Pac, the other perspective is completely different. I think a Tupac biopic would be a completely different movie.

Would you be interested in playing him in that? Of course.

Was your preparation for the role more trying to embody him, or did you try to imitate him? The thing that was so important was his demeanor, his ability to entrance people with his personality. I wanted to give that life, to give that fuel back to who he is. Because it was just his charisma that people bought into.

How do you think his mother would react to seeing this film? I think his mother would be very pleased. At the end of the day he’s an entertainer, so if this is what I’ve got to do to sell records, you know, if Britney Spears got to show her crotch, if Eva Longoria has to be with Tony Parker, if so and so has to make a sex tape with Ray J, that’s what I gotta do.

What about Biggie’s death? Do you have any theories on who was responsible? Both Biggie and Tupac’s deaths were very odd. They were both in very crowded places, in the public eye. They were both in convoys with their friends, and nobody saw anything, I found that to be very odd. Tupac being on the Vegas strip on fight night — I was on the Vegas strip for the De La Hoya fight, and literally it took me an hour to go two blocks. So you pull up next to him, shoot up his car, and speed away in a convoy, and nobody sees anything? There are more police on the Vegas strip than Fort Knox on a fight night.

How do you think the rap game would be different if they were still alive today? Half of these cats wouldn’t exist.

Like who? I ain’t saying no names. But I would say 95 percent of the rappers right now who are selling albums — all the cats who we go to the club and listen to their music, then we realize they’re fucking losers. All those dudes, the only reason they’re in the game is because Pac died. Because Pac came out and said, “Fuck yo momma, fuck yo sister, fuck yo kids,” you know what I mean? “My 44 make sure all your kids don’t grow! I’ma shoot your lady in her belly!” What?! And nobody said nothing! Pac said “Fuck you,” and everybody said “I’m sorry.” Today, somebody says “Fuck you,” and everybody got beef. It’s bullshit. Everybody is Parker Posies, everybody is trying to be these pseudo wannabe thugs. All these motherfuckers wanted to be Will Smith ten years ago, all these motherfuckers wanted to be Kwame ten years ago, all of them wore polka dots, all of them knew how to do the Chinese typewriter like MC Hammer. Fuck that! What happened to all the dudes in middle school we used to beat up? All of a sudden they disappeared and everybody’s a thug. Fuck you! that’s bullshit! All the motherfuckers we used to beat up in high school, they bought a Tupac album, and now they’re fucking hardcore.

Do you think we would have seen Tupac evolving into a business mogul like Jay-Z and Diddy? Tupac was never selfish enough to make that happen. The thing about Tupac that was so great, that was so prolific, was the fact that he was about the community. It wasn’t about him being worth $400 million.

Do you think he was a revolutionary? Of course. At his height, there were cats in jail writing ‘Pac letters, asking him what they should be doing next. That is a mogul. When you can entrance an entire group of people to move in a completely different way, that’s a mogul. A mogul is somebody — if you go to the hood and sell this bullshit music, then you have to reinvest that money you make from this bullshit back into the hood. Build some community centers, rebuild some public schools. You got $700 million, take $100 million and rebuild some public schools. Whoa, now all of a sudden you’re a fucking philanthropist, you’re Rockefeller, you’ll be ordained and remembered forever. It’s real simple. From the time you make $100 million, your grandkids are taken care of, so what else do you need?

I read that you said you choose acting over engineering because girls don’t chase engineers. Now that you’re an actor, are girls chasing you? Nah, now that I’m an actor I wish I was an engineer. Because the engineers get the good girls, the engineers get the girls who are smart and cute, who go to the gym. I just get leftover street booty. I get videos hoes. Who the fuck wants them?

I do! Exactly, but then after five minutes you’re like, get outta here!

Who do you think is the greatest rapper of all time? Tupac. He’s the most prolific, he’s the most revered. Biggie died right before his second album. Biggie dropped a double CD after Tupac was the first rapper to drop a double CD. He revolutionized the game. Nobody was wearing tattoos and all that shit before Pac did. Everybody was listening to Kwame and Will Smith.

What about Eminem? You worked with him on 8 Mile. Do you think he’s a good rapper? I think Eminem is an amazing rapper. He’s no Tupac. I’ll say there are about eight cats before Eminem. But I think he’s definitely in the top ten, just because of his lyrical skills.

Where do you like to go out when you’re in New York? I mean, the thing about New York is, going out is kind of shaky, because you have so many smelly Europeans. It’s not like New York ’98, when you used to go out and you used to hit Lotus, you used to hit PM, you used to hit Nell’s. You don’t really go to Eugene’s anymore, 40/40 is a bunch of suits, and you don’t want to hang out with fucking cornballs.

Well, where do you hang out? I bring the party home, there’s this little spot I go to in Brooklyn called Moe’s. That’s old faith. You come to the city to get dinner, and you go there. Because at the end of the day, the city is garbage now. You go to the Meatpacking District, and it’s a bunch of Jersey freaks and weirdo European dudes. It’s really weird man. It’s like, you closed Lotus? Where am I supposed to go? Lotus is closed? I’ve been going to Lotus for a long time, Lotus and Nell’s.

I wasn’t around for Nell’s. Remember when Tupac got arrested in a club for fucking a girl and getting head? That was in Nell’s. Nell’s was right down the street from Lotus, it was on 14th between 7th and 8th. The illest club in the city. Upstairs there was live music, downstairs was just a sweatbox hip hop joint. They closed down the Palladium and made it a fucking NYU dorm. But Nell’s was the illest situation in Manhattan. So you know, I don’t hang out with fucking Europeans.

Anthony Mackie Talks About Being the Next Jesse Owens

It’s a little surprising, isn’t it, that Hollywood hasn’t raced to get a Jesse Owens biopic greenlit yet. You’d think with the rags-to riches-to redemption biopic craze and the inspirational anything-is-possible sports movie obsession that Owens, an authentic American hero, would be ripe. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Owens defused Adolf Hitler’s weird “master race” thing by winning four gold medals in front of the Führer himself. Back home, his hero’s welcome was stunted by much of the same racial prejudice he was met with overseas. This movie will be everything to all people. Revelatory historical lesson, Nazi thriller, inspirational sports pic, and the feel-good movie of the year! So what’s holding it up? Truth be told, actor Anthony Mackie, who stars as Tupac Shakur in the upcoming Notorious B.I.G. biopic Notorious, has been slated to play the track star for a couple of years, and last week I had the chance to ask him about it.

“We’re putting it together now,” the charismatic actor told me at W New York. “It’s going to be a big thing. We’re chronicling his life from birth, to the ticker-tape parade down Park Avenue to The Waldorf Astoria, where he does all this stuff and basically defeats the German Empire. Then he gets to the Waldorf Astoria and he has to go around the back entrance. It’s like, really? He should’ve stayed in Germany … they treated him better over there. So the whole movie was based around this quote that he gave. He was like ‘Everybody asked me how I felt when Hitler didn’t allow me up to the box to shake my hand … well, you know the President didn’t invite me to the White House either.’ That sums up the whole movie. Hopefully that will come together.”