On Movies: Cumberbatch Plays Assange – Over Assange’s Protests

box office. It was enough to enable a sequel, which opened Friday. Machete Kills is even more of a free-for-all than Machete. Charlie Sheen (billed under his birth name, Carlos Estevez) plays the U.S. president, who sends Machete on a special mission. Sofia Vergara plays a madam with rage in her eyes and bullets in her machine-gun bustier. Trejo remains a leather-vested stalwart amid the madness. But if Machete Kills succeeds at the box office, Rodriguez will test Trejos solidity by sending him into space, in a third Machete film. Rodriguez hypes his yet-to-be-made sci-fi sequel in a trailer attached to Machete Kills. Reached by phone during a recent publicity stop in San Francico, Trejo is exceptionally good-humored and game about answering The Bees free-ranging questions. Here are excerpts from the conversation: Nepotism after the fact: Trejo met Rodriguez during the casting process for Desperado. Rodriguez cast Trejo in a supporting role in the film, shot in Acuna, Mexico. My family came down to visit me in Acuna, from San Antonio, and that is where Robert is from, Trejo said. My uncle started talking to Robert, and we realized (Trejo and Rodriguez) are second cousins. So it has been divine intervention all the way. On supposed typecasting: I remember somebody asking me about being typecast, I said What? Well, you are always playing the mean Chicano dude with tattoos. And I thought about it, and I said, I am the mean Chicano dude with tattoos. 3 prisons, 1 tattoo: The tattoo on my chest was started in 1965 in San Quentin.

Director Bill Condon (left) with Benedict Cumberbatch on the set of "The Fifth Estate."

Not many. Basically him saying, ‘Please don’t do this film,’ and me saying, ‘This is why I feel it’s actually not a bad thing, and I do want to do this film.’ And that’s where that was left. “I have a real care for him and his real-life situation, because it is very precarious. But this is a film, it’s not a documentary, it’s not a piece of legal evidence. It’s a dramatization of a certain account of events. There’s a lot of caveats there.” Directed by Bill Condon, The Fifth Estate – opening in theaters Friday – is a whirligig of a movie that traces Assange’s rise from Down Under upstart to whistle-blowing guru to an international hot potato caught in a sex scandal, and sought by several governments, including the United States, that were not pleased by the release of thousands of top-secret documents on his website. Along the way, Assange seems to transform from idealist crusader to somewhat meglomaniacal and paranoid figure. Daniel Bruhl, who plays Formula One racing legend Nicki Lauda in Rush, is Assange’s early ally-turned-disillusioned ex-WikiLeaks associate Domscheit-Berg. If you’ve seen Assange on YouTube, or in Alex Gibney’s We Steal Secrets documentary, and then you watch Cumberbatch in The Fifth Estate, the mannerisms, gait, rhythms of his speech, look in his eyes, even his dance moves (Assange is a terrible dancer) are dead-on. “There’s an intelligence, a charisma, which you can’t fake, and Assange has that, and Benedict has that, too,” says Condon, the director of Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, and a little two-part endeavor called The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. “It’s a lot of work. That just doesn’t happen easily,” the director notes in a separate interview. “It’s not dissimilar to what I went through with Ian McKellen in Gods and Monsters and Liam Neeson in Kinsey – British actors who start on the outside and then move in. The first thing is the wig, and the teeth for Benedict, and the frock, and the voice, obviously, and then they go deeper and deeper and deeper.” Condon was also struck by the way his star handled the e-mail entreaties from Assange. “Just imagine you’ve got an actor who is that serious and who is already in the process, in rehearsals, and you’re about to start shooting – his job, which he takes very seriously, is to channel Assange, is to become Assange.