Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in this real-life political thriller from Oscar winner Oliver Stone.
Was he good, or was he bad?
Co-starring Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Timothy Olyphant and Nicolas Cage, Snowden follows the true-life story of the contentious National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
His decision to leak classified information, exposing the astonishing breadth of the NSA’s global surveillance programs has put a spotlight on privacy issues and how they’re being monitored.
“He cares that the people of the United States are able to have this conversation, able to have this debate, able to know what the government is doing with this technology…”
Based on the books “The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man,” by Luke Harding and “Time of the Octopus,” by Anatoly Kucherena,
this powerful film follows the story of Snowden’s career from the army to the CIA to his post as an analyst for the NSA. In 2013, while working as an NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked a large number of classified documents to the media, exposing the U.S. government’s covert surveillance activities. Some called the whistleblower a hero, while others called him a traitor.
When it came to bringing this contentious story to to life, Gordon-Levitt and director Oliver Stone made sure to go straight to the source, Snowden himself, who lives in political exile in Russia.
“A few months before shooting the movie, I did have a chance to sit with him in person,” Gordon-Levitt told People and reporters at a press event. “But the visits weren’t arranged like cloak-and-dagger operations out of a political thriller. “It was honestly not as crazy as you would imagine,” Levitt said. “I flew to Moscow and went and met him at an office. “I know that he doesn’t want to live in Russia for the rest of his life,” said the actor.
“I think, to be honest though, what he cares about more than his personal life is the issues that he’s bringing up,” he continued. “He cares about the basic principles of what our country is about. He cares that the people of the United States are able to have this conversation, able to have this debate, able to know what the government is doing with this technology, and are able to form their own opinion. But it’s good that we’re having that conversation. That’s what democracy is supposed to be.”
Gordon-Levitt and cast let you decide.
Snowden makes its TIFF 2016 debut on Friday, September 9.