Oliver Stone’s latest film “Snowden” premiered to mixed reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s lead performance garnered critical acclaim. But according to the L.A. Times, Levitt was advised by many not to take the role of Edward Snowden because of the controversy surrounding the real-life figure.
“There were people in my professional life who said, ‘This is a controversial figure’ and ‘He’s very polarizing’ and ‘This might not be the most commercially vibe choice for you to make,” says Levitt. While he ensures these people were looking out for his best interest, “I didn’t agree with them in this case, and I decided to do it anyway.”
Levitt also admitted that he didn’t know much about Snowden before he signed on to the film. “I had heard the name, you know,” he says. “You kind of catch it in the background, but when I asked myself, ‘What exactly was it that he did and why?’ I couldn’t really answer those questions, so I had a lot of learning to do.”
His co-star Shailene Woodley also comments that Snowden’s revelations were “eerie” but also “relieving,” because they validated concerns and fears enervating in the culture.
“Snowden” will open in theaters on September 16th.