Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s next role has him filling big shoes as Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who leaked classified information about the U.S. government’s surveillance programs in 2013.
Directed by Oliver Stone and co-written by Stone and Kieran Fitzgerald, Gordon-Levitt sports glasses and affects a deeper voice in an attempt to look and sound like the real Snowden who is currently living and working in Moscow.
To prepare for the role, Gordon-Levitt flew to Russia for a four-hour meeting with Snowden because he wanted to “understand this person that I was going to play, observing both his strengths and his weaknesses,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.
Gordon-Levitt, who’s director grandfather was blacklisted by Hollywood and whose liberal Jewish parents met while working on a leftwing radio show, said he walked away from the meeting “knowing without a doubt that what [Snowden] did, he did because he believed it was the right thing to do, that he believed it would help the country he loves. Now, as he would say, it’s not for him to say whether it was right or wrong. That’s really for people to decide on their own, and I would encourage anybody to decide that on their own. I don’t want to be the actor guy who’s like, ‘You should listen to me! What he did was right!’ I don’t think that’s my place. Even though that is what I believe – that what he did was right.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, during an appearance at the Sun Valley Film Festival in Idaho, Stone talked about the difficulties he had financing the film and the decision to move production to Germany. “We felt like we were at risk here,” he said, adding, “We didn’t know what the NSA might do, so we ended up in Munich, which was a beautiful experience.”
The movie is scheduled for a September 16 opening and is distributed by Open Road Films.
Watch the trailer below: