Whether you deem his actions as heroic or villainous, there’s no denying that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has a damn interesting tale to tell. Which is why it’s surprising that Hollywood has taken this long to come a-knocking, as we usually have the first made for TV movie already hitting our screens before the ink on the newspaper print has even dried.
But Guardian now brings word that not only is the controversial figure finally getting his time in the movie spotlight, but the person doing the spotlight-ing (totally a real word) is a man who knows a thing or two about making movies around controversial figures: Oliver Stone.
The Oscar winning director behind such films as JFK, Platoon, Natural Born Killers and Born On the Fourth of July is set to adapt “The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man”, an ongoing account of the entire saga surrounding the titular whistleblower, penned by Guardian’s own journalist Luke Harding.
First reported in Guardian, the former NSA contractor leaked thousands of classified documents to the media in 2013, revealing the extensive (and some might even argue illegal) global surveillance programs put in place by the NSA and others, in conjunction with several telecommunication companies and European governments. The leak, dubbed the most significant in US history, put him in the crosshairs of the Obama administration who had to go into full damage control mode, forcing him to flee the country under charges of violating the espionage act. After bouncing around from country to country as he fled, he is currently residing in Russia where he was granted asylum, as he would be facing a 30-year prison sentence when he returns to US soil.
With many feeling that what the NSA and the like had done was an invasion of privacy and a violation of their rights, Snowden was viewed as a hero by many people. People like Oliver Stone who had this to say about the matter last year:
“It’s a disgrace that Obama is more concerned with hunting down Snowden than reforming these George Bush-style eavesdropping techniques. To me Snowden is a hero because he revealed secrets that we should all know, that the United States has repeatedly violated the fourth amendment. He should be welcomed and offered asylum. But he has no place to hide because every country is intimidated by the United States.”
Despite having made some of the best films of the last few decades, Stone’s star has waned a bit lately as he has not made anything even remotely close to the lofty standards of his earlier works. His last film, Savages, just skirted under the radar for most, and rightfully so. In fact, it could be argued that he is yet to make a great film in the 21st century, with 1999’s Any Given Sunday being his last true effort (W boasted a superb performance from Josh Brolin, but was a snore fest beside for that). But with a subject matter he clearly feels this strongly about, it may just be the kick in the pants needed to get his film making groove back.
The film will be made as an European co-production, with production set to even begin before the end of 2014. The accelerated schedule is more than likely in response to No Place to Hide, James Bond producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Brocoli’s own Snowden-centric film, adapted from Glenn Greenwald’s novel of the same name. Because in Hollywood, if there’s a big movie being made, you can almost be certain that somebody else is making a similar one as well.
Last Updated: June 4, 2014