Whispers of WikiLeaks movies widespread in Hollywood

While WikiLeaks has been commonplace in news headlines the past few months, the controversial organization has now become the new hot topic in Hollywood.

On Friday, DeadlineHollywood.com reported that HBO Films was the latest production company set to give a film treatment to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. While still in early production, the film will use a June 7, 2010, article published in the New Yorker, with the organization’s leaking of a 38-minute classified video from a U.S. Army helicopter, as its main source material.

HBO seems to be following in the footsteps of several other Hollywood players who have announced their plans for cinematic versions of the WikiLeaks narrative.

Producers Barry Josephson and Michelle Krumm may have struck first in the WikiLeaks movie craze, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The duo has optioned the rights to an Assange biography written by award-winning Australian reporter Andrew Fowler entitled “The Most Dangerous Man in the World.” The biography chronicles Assange’s early life through the founding of the controversial organization and his latest struggles with international authorities.

“The producers liken their adaptation to the suspense of ‘All the President’s Men’ and the thrill of a Tom Clancy novel,” said film reporter Borys Kit in an article for The Hollywood Reporter.

A day after the producers announced their decision to option the rights for the biography, DeadlineHollwood.com reported that Universal Pictures would fund a documentary about Assange. Oscar-winning documentary director Alex Gibney – with a long list of credits including “Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room,” “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer” and “Casino Jack and the United States of Money” – will direct Universal’s take on the whistle-blower website.

The spike in Hollywood’s interest in the WikiLeaks story may be linked to the success of movies like “The Social Network,” which followed the story of the rebellious Harvard hacker who founded Facebook. “The Social Network” won four Golden Globes last week, including Best Drama, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Aaron Sorkin penned the screenplay, which he adapted from the bestselling biography, “The Accidental Billionaires.”

Whatever the motivations, with three WikiLeaks movies in the works, there is sure to be one Hollywood version that captures the sense of international intrigue and impeding danger from the real-life story of Assange.