ByBrian Finamore, writer at
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Brian Finamore

Three time Academy Award winning filmmaker Oliver Stone will no doubt stir "controversy" again with his next planned film based off the book The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding, a journalist for The Guardian, which tells the story of the American whistleblower Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency who leaked thousands of classified documents to the former Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald back in June 2013. The announcement was made yesterday through The Guardian's website.

As early as sixth months ago, Stone expressed interest in making a film about Snowden.

According to The Guardian, the film is to be produced by Stone's regular business partner Moritz Borman, with Harding and other Guardian journalists serving as production and story consultants.

"This is one of the greatest stories of our time," Stone, 67, said in a statement. "A real challenge. I'm glad to have the Guardian working with us." Stone's previous films include Platoon, JFK and W. The director has also made documentaries on Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, together with a 2012 TV series, Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States.

Conceived as a European co-production, the film is due to start shooting before the end of 2014. But time is of the essence. Stone's film looks set to face competition from No Place to Hide, a rival project adapted from the book by Glenn Greenwald and overseen by James Bond producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

A subject of controversy, Snowden has been variously called a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a traitor, and a patriot. Snowden's "sole motive" for leaking the documents was, in his words, "to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them." The disclosures have fueled debates over mass surveillance, government secrecy, and the balance between national security and information privacy. Two court rulings since the initial leaks have split on the constitutionality of the NSA's bulk collection of telephone metadata; in December 2013, a federal judge found the program to be "likely unconstitutional" and "almost Orwellian". In early 2014, some media outlets and politicians called for leniency in the form of clemency, amnesty or pardon, while others called for him to be imprisoned. Ex-CIA director James Woolsey said that Snowden should be hanged if convicted of treason. BuzzFeed reported that anonymous U.S. "spies" wanted him murdered. He currently lives in an undisclosed location in Russia.

However, Stone has made it clear several times that he feels the US government surveillance as a violation of basic democratic rights and praises Edward Snowden as a hero who give up his own well-being for the benefit of all citizens. I am inclined to agree with him and I am a huge Oliver Stone fan. I personally can't wait for this film, which I hope will be a return to Stone's JFK days in terms of style and "controversy".


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