Despite being confined to a house in the UK, Julian Assange gets around. He has started work on a TV series, starred on The Simpsons and is even running in politics. It seems that the Wikileaks founder is now going to be the subject of a new movie – he just won’t be starring in it.
Network TEN, an Australian television station, has announced UNDERGROUND, a made for TV film that explores the early life of Assange. The network announced that they have secured Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under) and Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace) to star in the movie alongside newcomer Alex Williams who will play a young Assange.
The film will be written and directed by AFI Award winning filmmaker Robert Connolly (Balibo). The film is not only about Assange as it explores the young group of hackers that Assange led during the late 1980s and early 1990s in Melbourne. Here’s the official synopsis from the filmmakers:
“UNDERGROUND is the story of teenage Julian’s early foray into computer hacking up until his first arrest. Set in suburban Melbourne in the late 1980s, UNDERGROUND delves into Assange’s turbulent upbringing with activist mother Christine as well as his first friendships and girlfriend. Forming a hacking circle, nicknamed ‘The International Subversives’, Assange begins breaking into the computer systems of the world’s most powerful organizations. In an era before the internet, the teenagers wage a technological war from their bedrooms, hacking into the US military from their home-jigged computers and parent’s phone lines. All the while they are being hunted by the Australian Federal Police led by Detective Ken Roberts who is charged with shutting them down.”
The studio tapped the aforementioned big names to play two of the pivotal roles in the film. Griffiths will play Assange’s mother while LaPaglia will be playing Detective Ken Roberts. The other actors in the film are Callan McAuliffe (The Great Gatsby), Laura Wheelwright (Animal Kingdom) and Jordan Raskopoulos (The Axis of Awesome).
The producer behind the film, Helen Bowden, gives a few more details about UNDERGROUND:
“Underground is the incredible, true story of a group of schoolboys in Melbourne who were hacking into the some of the biggest corporate and military organizations in the world, at the dawn of the internet age. It is a fascinating tale and we are very excited to be bringing it to the screen.”
Wikipedia confirms that the events being portrayed in the film actually happened. Spoiler alert: Assange was caught but never went to jail for his hacking exploits.
The film will begin shooting on April 16 and will continue for four weeks. That’s a ridiculously short time to film a movie, but I guess it has to be since the film is apparently going to air on Network TEN in the second half of 2012. It will be distributed worldwide by NBC Universal.
Do you think a film about the early life of Julian Assange would be good? Or would you rather see a film based on his work for Wikileaks? Let us know in the comments.