Sherlock star takes on Assange role

Benedict Cumberbatch ditches his Sherlock black mop for a white mane as he takes on the role of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in his latest role.

The actor is seen for the first time as Assange in forthcoming movie The Fifth Estate which has now begun filming.

It traces the early days of his WikiLeaks site as he sought to bring confidential information into the public domain.

Cumberbatch - famed for his role as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC1 update of Conan Doyle's stories about the consulting detective - stars alongside Daniel Bruhl, who portrays Daniel Domscheit-Berg, one of his early supporters.

The film is based on two books about the rise to infamy of Assange, who is holed up in Ecuador's London embassy after being given asylum. The Australian faces extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies.

Director Bill Condon said: "It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it's revolutionised the spread of information.

"So this film won't claim any long view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment. We want to explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information age and, we hope, enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked."