Julian Assange: Hollywood Friends Keeping Spirits Up

Julian Assange - arrives at the High Court in central London - P - 2011
Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

The WikiLeaks founder says his year spent in the Ecuadorian embassy has been made better thanks to John Cusack and Lady Gaga.

Embattled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he's taking comfort in visits from his Hollywood pals.

Assange, who has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2013, says he has been visited by John Cusack, Lady Gaga, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, members of Pussy Riot and Yoko Ono.

"I'm a big admirer," he said of John Lennon's widow in an interview with Australia's Who magazine.

Assange's story is about to make a big splash in Hollywood, when The Fifth Estate hits theaters Oct. 18. The Participant Media and DreamWorks film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange, who has denounced the film as a "massive propaganda attack." The Fifth Estate is opening the Toronto International Film Festival Sept. 5

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Assange faces extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in two alleged sexual assaults. He told Who he is more concerned about being extradited to the U.S., where he could face espionage charges over WikiLeaks' release of classified information.

He also told the publication he is careful not to make it public where embassy employees buy his food, for fear he will be poisoned.

"They might put something in there that won't kill me but make me very sick so I'll have to go to hospital," he said.

Assange has been switching rooms in the embassy, which occupies a single floor of a building.

"I miss all the outside world, obviously," said Assange. "We've had this room for about a week, and we don't draw attention to which rooms. That's quite dangerous."

E-mail: Aaron.Couch@THR.com
Twitter: @AaronCouch