5 things you need to know about ‘Snowden’

Oliver Stone is back from a four-year movie-making hiatus with a TIFF biopic on one of the most infamous men in America: Edward Snowden.

In “Snowden” the director tells the story of how the military recruit’s medical discharge led him down the path to becoming a computer prodigy who uncovered the US’s domestic online spy program. Get ready to feel super paranoid about who can see inside your smartphone. Here’s what you need to know about Snowden.

1. Joseph Gordon-Levitt lowers his voice approximately three octaves for the title role

Lively, animated Gordon-Levitt may seem an unlikely choice to portray the serious and somber NSA whistleblower, but one look at the trailer and you can tell he’s pulling it off.

2.  When Oliver Stone makes a movie, major talent lines up to be in it

Melissa Leo, Nicolas Cage, Shailene Woodley, Rhys Ifans, Timothy Olyphant, and Zachary Quinto join JGL in what is sure to be a controversial film about a still-controversial subject. Of course, that’s Stone’s speciality. 

3. What does an octopus have to do with it?

Stone and his co-screenwriter Kieran Fitzgerald built their script on two books about Edward Snowden. The first was Luke Harding’s “The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man.” The second: “Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena.” 

4. The real Edward Snowden was a big part of the moviemaking process

Snowden filled Stone in on the specifics of what life was like inside the NSA and CIA, teaching him about the organization’s procedures, lingo, and surprisingly dull office spaces. Stone showed his subject an early cut of the film too, which he gave a “thumbs up” to, according to the director. Literally everyone is a critic these days. 

5. Stone doesn’t think it's a political film

The director told The Hollywood Reporter that his movie is more of an “intellectual thriller.” And yet, no production company in the U.S. would touch it. “We did not get financing from any of the U.S. majors. They all turned it down on the basis of the subject,” says Stone. “Essentially we got it made by the skin of our teeth.”
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