Back to IndieWire

Hey Oliver Stone: Here Are 9 Actors Who Could Play Edward Snowden In Your Upcoming Biopic

Hey Oliver Stone: Here Are 9 Actors Who Could Play Edward Snowden In Your Upcoming Biopic

Now that it’s been announced Oscar-winner Oliver Stone is locked in to write and direct Sony’s upcoming Edward Snowden biopic, many are no doubt clamoring to know who the filmmaker will cast as his leading man. Adapted from Luke Harden’s “The
Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man,” the film
will reportedly begin production late this year, meaning Stone is likely very close to casting an actor to embody the
NSA whistleblower. Here are 9 actors we’d love to see in the role (in no particular order):

Robert Pattinson

It’s such an obvious choice that it
might fly over most people’s heads to consider Robert Pattinson the
perfect actor for the role of Edward Snowden. The “Twilight” star has
been pretty desperate to prove he’s someone to take seriously–an effort
that has not gone unnoticed. His performance in David Michôd’s “The
Rover” received raves at Cannes, he’s worked with David Cronenberg twice
now and is going to appear in Anton Corbijn’s James Dean film “Life.”
Let’s give the guy a chance? He looks like Snowden, is eager and has
enough star power to bring in the dough. We certainly are team Edward on
this one.

Vincent Kartheiser

Another child star who is
more than ready to work for Oliver Stone is Vincent Kartheiser. Peter Campbell (“Mad Men”) has a knack for the delicate balance between
shrewd and sympathetic, and depending on the angle the Snowden biopic
goes for, Kartheiser might just be the perfect pick. His stigma of
confidence without charisma and elegant speech capabilities, coupled
with a haircut, could give the television and indie star a big-screen

Aaron Paul

The “Breaking Bad” star is currently seeking out new pastures and could definitely fit the bill with his dexterity in expressing angst and worry. Currently awash with projects and new offers, starring in John Hillcoat’s upcoming new film “Triple Nine,” for example, Paul might however struggle to manage it in his schedule. One can hold hope though. He would certainty bring a large following to the film.

Eddie Redmayne

Not yet a household name, Redmayne might emerge from the shadows and take on the role of the titular truth teller. Best known for his role as Marius Pontmercy in “Les Misérables” and Collin Clark in “My Week With Mayilyn,” he is also starring in the upcoming biopic “Theory of Everything” as physicist Stephen Hawking. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he would bring a much needed intellectual persona to the role.

Daniel Radcliffe

While he will always most closely be associated with Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe has been quietly taking charge of his career in the indie arena, and the physical similarities (and the fact he can so famously pull off glasses) make Radcliffe a worthy consideration as Edward Snowden. He has already demonstrated talent and passion for performing real people in “Kill Your Darlings” and having been cast as track icon Sebastian Coe in the upcoming “Gold.”

Sebastian Arcelus

It seems like if one or two things fell differently, Ed Snowden and “House of Cards” character Lucas Goodwin might have switched places. Both are righteous searchers of justice and the truth, so it is only appropriate to consider Arcelus — who plays the journalist in the Netflix hit — to play yet another enemy of the federal government. His unique physique gives the sense that he is aged beyond his years, and his stature would paint Snowden as the powerful figure he has proven to be.

Ben Foster

Ben Foster has been around for a while now, appearing in HBO’s “Six Feet Under,” the western “3:10 to Yuma” and the rather mediocre “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Although he’s always been a standout, the Boston-born actor has achieved a new level of fame and acclaim with his supporting roles in “Kill Your Darlings,” “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and “Lone Survivor”–all of which were released in the last year.  Now, with Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden film underway, we’d like to put forth Foster’s name as a contender to play the infamous figure. Yes, Foster is already playing Lance Armstrong in an upcoming biopic, but his physical resemblance to Snowden is palpable enough to make this happen anyway. He’s too good of a screen presence to remain in the shadows.

Ben Whishaw

Ben Whishaw is an acclaimed Shakespearean actor, was a standout in the last James Bond film and has snagged the role of Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic. Still, we wouldn’t mind adding Edward Snowden to the list of characters the British actor is capable of playing. With Oliver Stone’s project underway, it’s important to consider that he’s been great in practically everything (check him out in BBC’s “Richard II”) and is not too far of a reach in the looks department, either. So, why not?

Seth Rogen

Okay, this might be a stretch, but you have to admit the physical similarities between the “Neighbors” star and Snowden are pretty striking. And while Rogen has proven himself to be one of the funniest men working in comedy today, he also revealed some promising dramatic chops in films like “Take This Waltz” and “50/50.” With Rogen now more popular than ever, it’s time for him to prove his range to the masses by taking on a role as challenging as Snowden in a film sure to draw a lot of attention. He’s got the goods.

[Eric Eidelstein, Brandom Latham, Oliver MacMahon and Nigel M. Smith contributed to this article.]

This Article is related to: Features and tagged , , , , ,



Arthur Darvill


What about the BLACK MAN? Can the BLACK MAN get some love on these lists? How come there ain't no BROTHAS on the WALL!

Nah, kidding– just messing with you is all. Hell, I ain't even black, I'm a chinaman.


Jamie Bell


How about find someone new?


Jamie Bell, 200%.

Mary Gilbert

Ben Whishaw is amazing in everything he does. He played a great geek in Skyfall and he is so good that you forget he's acting . Great Richard II and John Keats in Bright Star.


What about Jamie Bell?


2 words: Matt Damon.

Bryan Ribelin

Robert Pattinson and Seth Rogen? Really?

And yet you leave out Joseph-Gordon Levitt. This list sucks.


I think Rob is the obvious choice , he is very versatile and looses himself in the character


I approve this list. but James McAvoy would be my pick.


Omg Robert Pattinson fans are insane. Look at these freakin' comments. Not everyone who thinks Pattinson is terrible is a Kstew fan. What the hell is wrong with you people?

Anyway, I think they should go with an unknown. Kinda like the Star Wars reboot. Most of the actors mentioned have already had breakthrough roles. This Snowden role could be a breakthrough role for another up and coming actor.


Actually it is a good list, but Ryan Gosling was the first name that crossed my mind


Joe Pesci


Pattinson, I can see the resemblance. I think he could pull it off but Eddie Redmayne got my vote for this one.


Pattinson is so bad actor.


Where are the real actors in Hollywood?


Harry Potter and Edward Cullen in this list, is this a joke?


None of these is suitable, especially the vampire


Pattinson? NO!


I saw an article last year where they talked about making a film about Snowden, Pattinson's name came up then too. I think he's a good fit actually and judging by his penchant for working with 'famed' directors this could be a goer.


Hopefully Stone has a more astute roster of possible candidates for this role. Pattinson? Give me a break.


I think Ryan Eggold, who played Tom Keen on The Blacklist is a deadringer for Snowden. I guess he's not a big enough name, but he could easily play the part.

Pattinson has enough work to keep him busy for the next couple of years, unless he really wants to work with Oliver Stone. He's got enough money now to just choose the roles he wants, and he's been making very smart choices. I can't wait to see The Rover and MTTS.


Eddie Redmayne FTW!


Seth Rogen? Wow.
Indiewire needs a subscription to IMDB Pro. Pronto!


You are desperate unfortunatelly,not Robert Pattinson.


That's funny. Snowden was said by CNN (or was it Fox News) to be a Pattinson look-a-like last year. I don't really see it. I doubt Pattinson could fit another role in right now. He's looks pretty booked at the moment, with Idol's Eye added to an already full roster.


Indiewire getting more ridiculous each day. How can you expect to be taken seriously? Don't do anytjhing for hits please. It's getting embarrassing. Or is it time to unfollow you? Well, maybe.


Pathetic list to say the list. Yawn.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *