March 3, 2011 / 8:44 PM / 8 years ago

DreamWorks options movie rights to WikiLeaks books

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The DreamWorks studio has optioned movie rights to a pair of books about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his controversial Website that is bent on revealing government secrets, company officials said on Thursday.

One of the books is “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy” by journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding of The Guardian, the British newspaper said in an article.

The other is “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website” by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a defector from the organization.

The books were optioned by Holly Bario and Mark Sourian, co-presidents of production at DreamWorks Studios, said a spokesman for the company.

Director Steven Spielberg, a principal partner at DreamWorks along with co-chairman and CEO Stacey Snider, is not personally working on the project.

No director or producer has yet been attached to make a movie, and filming may not start for years, if at all.

Also, the WikiLeaks story is a fast-moving one, with further developments likely in the future.

Assange, a 39 year-old Australian who infuriated U.S. government officials in late 2010 by publishing classified diplomatic cables, faces extradition from Britain to Sweden over alleged sex crimes.

The U.S. military is prosecuting a soldier accused of leaking secret documents to WikiLeaks and the U.S. government is looking at where charges can be brought against Assange himself.

Some open government advocates praise Assange for revealing state secrets, arguing the public has a right to know about those matters. Critics compare Assange’s actions to espionage.

The 2010 film “The Social Network” about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, a figure who is far less controversial than Assange but just as topical, made $221 million at worldwide box offices and earned a best picture Oscar nomination.

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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