Hollywood mulls further Guardian movies on phone-hacking and Snowden following The Fifth Estate

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger last night said he has met major Hollywood producers to discuss films into the Edward Snowden leaks as well as the phone-hacking scandal.

Speaking to Press Gazette after an advance screening of The Fifth Estate which deals with the Wikileaks revelations, Rusbridger said major studios were definitely interested in further scripts.

In the latest film, which opens next week, Rusbridger is played by incoming Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi.

“I haven’t given much thought about who I would like to play me in any future movie. Maybe the old Doctor Who [Matt Smith] would be appropriate.”

Commenting on his relationship with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Rusbridger said the Australian activist was quite strange.

“I found him to be both very inspiring and deeply flawed. He could turn from being a chief executive officer of a major company to becoming impossible devious and destructive in a matter of moments. You could encounter both sides of Julian in 24 hours.”

In a question and answer session following the screening of the two and a half hour film, with the BBC’s Will Gompertz, Rusbridger said The Guardian had been following Wikileaks since 2007.

He said: “No money changed hands between the Guardian and Wikileaks.”

Rusbridger said the stories about Wikileaks and Edward Snowden had launched The Guardian onto an international stage.

He said earlier when a Guardian correspondent in Washington wanted a quote from the White House, they were lucky to get their call returned on the same day.

“We are the ninth biggest newspaper in Britain. While we are still hugely influential here, when you take The Daily Mail out of it, it is between ourselves and the New York Times as to who is the most influential serious English language newspaper in the world.”

Rusbridger denied his newspaper was reckless in publishing the classified data from Edward Snowden and said it took great care to redact any information that could compromise ongoing operations.

“Before almost every story we contacted the NSA and they would sometimes shrug and sometimes they would ask us to stop publication. Of course we would listen to them.

“We were accused of having blood on our hands and that the bad guys would change  the way they act.

“The NSA wanted us to not to publish the story about the weakening of encryption on the internet.”

Rusbridger said the decision to publish was based on the overwhelming public interest in knowing such a fundamental change was taking place to internet security as it affected every business transaction on the internet.

He admitted it could allow terrorists and paedophiles to change their online behaviour.

“President Obama complained we were publishing the information in ‘dribs and drabs’, but that just showed we were acting responsibly.”

Rusbridger said he could not be blinded by the needs of the security forces and said it was incredibly important that the people learned about the level of surveillance so they could have an informed debate.

He added that he was disappointed by the lack of debate in Parliament, particularly when he compares it to the coverage in Congress.

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