Edward Snowden became a polarizing political figure after leaking thousands of U.S. government documents that exposed top-secret surveillance programs. A former employee of the National Security Agency, he was assailed as a traitor and celebrated as a hero for his actions, and now lives in Russia to avoid American legal authorities.
Laura Poitras’ Oscar-winning documentary, Citizenfour, captured Snowden at the intimate and pivotal moments when he decided to act, shaking the D.C. power structure and impacting the U.S.’s relationships with friends and foes alike, and Hollywood didn’t waited long to mount its own version of the story. Oliver Stone is currently directing Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Snowden, which Open Road Films will open on Dec. 25. In the first-look image, Gordon-Levitt wears Snowden’s glasses, but he’s also in uniform, a soldier. “Before he was a whistle-blower, Edward was an ordinary man who unquestioningly served his country,” Open Road says in a promotional statement.
Before working for the CIA and the NSA, Snowden joined the United States Army Reserve in 2004 with hopes of joining Special Forces in Iraq. He was discharged after breaking both his legs in a training accident.