EXCLUSIVE: Oliver Stone has set his sights on Joseph Gordon-Levitt to play asylum-seeking CIA leaker Edward Snowden in the movie that Stone and his producing partner Moritz Borman intend to shoot beginning in December in Munich. It becomes the latest intriguing role for Gordon-Levitt, who wrapped playing Philippe Petit in the Robert Zemeckis-directed The Walk for Tom Rothman‘s TriStar and is now shooting Xmas with Seth Rogen at Sony. It hasn’t happened yet, but stay tuned.
As Deadline has reported, Stone and Borman have a deal with Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, for film rights to his novel Time Of The Octopus. That is the basis for the story of an American whistle blower who heads to Russia and the back and forth between the leaker and his lawyer as he waits while that country considers his request for asylum. Stone and Borman also bought the screen rights to The Snowden Files: The Inside Story Of The World’s Most Wanted Man, a book by Guardian journalist Luke Harding that’s published by Guardian Faber.
Like Julian Assange, Snowden is a polarizing figure that some would call brave, and others — including the U.S. government — would call a turncoat, or worse, after he made public more classified documents than anyone else has done since Daniel Ellsberg released The Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War.
Stone is not alone in his desire to make a Snowden film, but I doubt anybody is going to beat him to the screen. Last month, Sony Pictures acquired film rights to Pulitzer-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald‘s upcoming book No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, The NSA, And The U.S. Surveillance State. That pic will be produced by Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers of the James Bond spy franchise. The Snowden film is the first project Stone has sparked to since he exited plans to make a movie on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Gordon-Levitt is repped by WME.