Edward Snowden talks film debut and dramatizing his life in 'Snowden'

Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:49pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Reuters) - When former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden met with Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone to discuss a movie on his life, he never thought he would be making his own film debut.

Stone had initially interviewed Snowden to include him in DVD outtakes, Snowden said via video link late Thursday in San Diego after a screening of Stone's "Snowden," which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the title character.

But Snowden and Stone ended up filming nine takes for a scene in which he talks about his fears stemming from his actions.

"I spoke at length just about personal values and just what it meant to me with the things that were happening since 2013," said Snowden. "I guess he liked it. People do seem to respond to that."

The movie, due out in September, follows the 2013 events that led Snowden, a former contractor with the National Security Agency, to expose the U.S. government's mass surveillance programs and flee the country after the government filed espionage charges against him.

He was granted asylum in Russia later that year, and has lived there since with his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills.

"When there is enough in the public record, you don't really get to decide whether or not the movie gets made," Snowden said.

The film follows Snowden's discovery of the U.S. government's mass surveillance programs that digitally monitor unaware citizens.   Continued...

American whistleblower Edward Snowden is seen on a screen as he delivers a speech during the Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark, June 28 2016. Scanpix Denmark/Mathias Loevgreen Bojesen /via REUTERS