Edward Snowden is probably one of the most recognizable names in the world. In June 2013, the NSA contractor unveiled a multitude of classified documents to three journalists, sparking outrage and praise across the country. His actions were and continue to be relevant in the information age. Snowden brought the terrifying reality of government surveillance to light and quickly became the world's most wanted man, charged with espionage and theft of government property by the US.
Still unable to return home without immediate detainment, Snowden is currently living somewhere in Russia, protected under a temporary asylum that is nearing its expiration date. Despite his fugitive status, Edward continues to speak out against the US government and the secrecy it shrouds itself in, making multiple guest appearances on news platforms via satellite. He even weighed in on the opinions of two American 2016 presidential hopefuls in an interview with Al Jazeera (below).
He's been called a whistleblower, a traitor, a hero, a criminal and a patriot. He states in the interview above that he doesn't like any of that terminology. Regardless, the Snowden controversy will continue to entice debate among society and these terms will still be used to describe him.
Edward's story has become so iconic that Hollywood has decided to bring it to the big screen. Oliver Stone co-wrote and directed the biopic 'Snowden', set to hit theaters in May 2016. It is expected to be a blockbuster of epic proportion - this story is known by many, but few are actually aware of its entirety. Telling this tale from the beginning may bring viewers to a better understanding of Snowden's motivations behind his actions.
I'm impatiently waiting for this film's release. At this point, I'd be semi-satisfied with a full trailer to supplement the teaser. It just makes me angry because the time spent waiting would be easier to digest with more to go on than what is shown in the trailer. One shining beacon of light at the end of the tunnel is the hype surrounding the casting of Snowden himself.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Do I Smell Oscar Bait??
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has spent years in a seemingly perpetual cycle of supporting roles. While he was wonderful in them, many fans [including me] wanted to see him take the lead for once. After a few comedy leads in movies such as 50/50 and Don Jon (which he also wrote and directed), we are now in a position to see Gordon-Levitt shine in some excitingly iconic roles.
Released in late September, The Walk received rave reviews and began Joseph's ascent to Oscar bait status. Taking on the persona of Philipe Petit, Gordon-Levitt respectably told the story of the French tightrope walker and his preparation for the 1974 attempt to walk across the gap between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
Gordon-Levitt's latest role is one of epic proportions. Originally set for a Christmas 2015 release, Snowden's run in theaters has been postponed until May 2016. Makes you wonder what's taking so long, right? I'm hoping whatever work is done on the film in that time makes it even better than I'm imagining it to be.
With a supporting cast including Shailene Woodley, Nicholas Cage, Zachary Quinto and Scott Eastwood, Snowden is expected to crush box office competition. Captain America: Civil War may have something to worry about when Snowden comes to share the attention of moviegoers everywhere. There's talk of an Oscar nod for his performance in The Walk, but it's almost a no-brainer for his role in Snowden if the movie performs well. The question on anyone's mind: How could Joseph portray such an enigmatic man with no real gimpse as to who Edward Snowden really is? The answer: Gordon-Levitt did in fact get to meet with Snowden during pre-production!
A Secret Meeting In Russia: One-On-One With Snowden
Before filming even began, Gordon-Levitt made a secret trip to Russia for a four hour meeting with Snowden himself. Instructed not to take notes and to refrain from telling the public about the encounter, Joseph finally told the world about his enlightening experience with Edward in mid-September. Wanting to better understand the man he was playing, it was his goal to observe Snowden's entire personality and reasoning, his strengths and weakness and the events leading up to his now infamous information leak. Obtaining exactly what he needed, he opened up to The Guardian, which happens to be one of two papers that worked with Snowden during the leak. Gordon-Levitt has this to say about his meeting with Edward:
“I left 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.”
I believe that Joesph Gordon-Levitt is in the most qualified position to play such a complex character. With a major sense of empathy and a dedication to bring his characters to life with grace and respect, he's well on his way to Oscar gold. Whether or not the controversy surrounding the story will reignite with the film's release remains to be seen, however, I think it's time we get a more detailed look into the life of Edward Snowden regardless of conflicting opinions across the world. He deserves at least that.
Regardless of your opinion, Edward Snowden and his actions are still relevant today. He's a public figure that still invokes mass curiosity and debate. If you type the name Edward into Google search, Snowden is still in the top 3 auto-suggestions. This man is still captivating the country. I believe Joseph Gordon-Levitt has the necessary blend of acting skill and understanding of the role to bring an accurate and intriguing performance in 'Snowden'. If the movie does as well as many believe it will, will Joseph finally achieve an Oscar nom?I hope so!
What are your thoughts on this upcoming film? Tell me in the comments! Follow me here for more stories about new films and, as always, watch more movies!