A multi-continent manhunt. Scandalous sexual assault allegations. Top-secret government documents.
The real-life story of Internet activist Julian Assange and his whistleblower website WikiLeaks is fraught with so much drama, it's no wonder Hollywood wants to bring it to the silver screen.
A DreamWorks spokesman confirmed that the company has bought the film rights to two books about the controversial website and the mysterious man behind it -- "WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy," by David Leigh and Luke Harding, and "Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website," by Daniel Domscheit-Berg -- but he declined to share any details.
Still, that hasn't stopped the Web speculation on how the fictionalized story might play out and who might get cast in a film. Below, take a look at a who's who in the real-life WikiLeaks drama and the stars that potentially could play them in a Hollywood thriller.
The international man of mystery himself, Julian Assange is the Australian publisher and programmer who launched WikiLeaks in 2006 to give whistleblowers an avenue to expose the truth. But the noble goal has landed him a spot as public enemy No. 1 for countries around the world. Sweden wants to try him for sexually assaulting two women. The U.S. wants to prosecute him for leaking thousands of diplomatic cables.
Casting the enigmatic, fair-haired former hacker is no easy task. Online polls have favored Paul Bettany, who played the albino-like Silas in "The Da Vinci Code," Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgard and "How I Met Your Mother" star Neil Patrick Harris. Even alabaster-skinned actress Tilda Swinton has made some lists.
But maybe Leonardo DiCaprio is the one with the right amount of star power and intensity to play this leading man. Sure, he might need to slap on some make up and grow out his hair. But the actor has proven his ability to hold audiences in thrillers such as "Inception," "Shutter Island" and "The Departed."
"For Julian, either Leonardo DiCaprio or Ryan Gosling would be great," said Michael Musto, a celebrity and entertainment columnist for the Village Voice. "They both excel at playing controversial real-life figures, and they could easily provide the role with charm, danger and ambiguity."
He was once Assange's right-hand man, but now Daniel Domscheit-Berg has said, "Sometimes I hate him so much that I'm afraid I'd resort to physical violence if our paths ever cross again."
In a recent interview with Wired magazine, the WikiLeaks defector and author of "Inside WikiLeaks" said he and Assange were best friends until they had a falling out last year. Not only has he penned a book criticizing WikiLeaks, he's launched a rival website called OpenLeaks.
With his budding beard and brooding looks, Christian Bale could be a top contender to play the part of Assange's friend-turned-enemy. The Oscar-winning actor not only is known for his fiery performances on and off stage, he's also worked with DreamWorks partner Steven Spielberg before. Bale's silver-screen debut was in Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun" at age 13.