Oliver Stone is looking for the right man to play controversial NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in his next film, The Snowden Files, and he’s reportedly offered the part to versatile actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. According to Variety, Gordon-Levitt has agreed to sign on, though official negotiations haven’t begun.
The film – written, directed and co-produced by Stone – will be based on two books: Time of the Octopus, a novel written by Snowden’s attorney, Anatoly Kucherena, which tells the fictional story of an American whistleblower spending three weeks in a transit area of the Moscow airport while waiting for Russian authorities to grant him asylum; and The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, written by journalist Luke Harding. Production on the movie is expected to begin in late 2014 or early 2015.
The pairing of filmmaker and lead actor makes sense: Stone has a strong background in political drama (1991’s JFK, 1995’s Nixon), and Gordon-Levitt has found high-profile work in a wide array of genres. The actor’s most recent role was in the crime-thriller sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and he’s currently shooting an untitled Christmas-themed comedy also starring Seth Rogen.
Snowden, a former intelligence analyst for the U.S., has been on the run since last June, when he leaked thousands of classified government documents – including a number relating to global surveillance programs – to media outlets. Labeled both a national traitor and hero, Snowden is currently seeking asylum in the European Union while living in an unknown location in Russia.
Last year, following the initial leaks, Stone praised Snowden as a “hero” while attending the Shanghai International Film Festival.