Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) may soon play whistleblower Edward Snowden in an upcoming Oliver Stone film. According to Deadline, Gordon-Levitt is the director’s primary choice for the role, with Stone planning to start filming in December in Germany.
Edward Snowden, the CIA system administrator who famously leaked classified NSA information, is currently living in an undisclosed Russian location. Anatoly Kucherena, Sowden’s lawyer in Russia, has a deal with Stone and co-producer Moritz Borman for the film rights to his novel Time of the Octopus. The story details the correspondence between an American whistleblower in Russia and his lawyer while he awaits the country’s response to his request for asylum. Stone also owns the film rights to the book The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, written by journalist Luke Harding.
Audiences will remember last year’s The Fifth Estate, the story of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, which failed to deliver on the promise of its fascinating real-life source material. That film was ultimately considered both a critical and commercial failure. However, with Stone – a man well-versed in adapting real-life political stories for the screen – there may be reason to look forward to a Snowden movie. Beyond the camera, Stone is widely known as very opinionated and critical towards U.S. politics. Having made films like Born on the Fourth of July (1989), JFK (1991), Nixon (1995), and W. (2008), and even tackling global topics in Salvador (1986) or his documentary Commandante (2003), Stone is a director who doesn’t shy away from controversial subject matter and isn’t afraid to voice displeasure with American foreign policy. For a filmmaker whose last few efforts – including World Trade Center (2006) and Savages (2012) – have fallen short in the eyes of even his most ardent supporters, a look into the Snowden scandal may just be the perfect project for him to tackle.
For Gordon-Levitt, the film would be a second straight portrayal of a real-life figure, having recently played Philippe Petit in Robert Zemeckis’s recently re-titled The Walk (set to release next year). He’s also currently shooting Xmas with 50/50 co-star Seth Rogen.
Another Edward Snowden project is currently brewing over at Sony, which owns the film rights to Glenn Greenwald’s forthcoming book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, The NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. However, it appears that project will be beat to the screen by Stone’s movie.