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Edward Snowden is turning his hand to acting – by playing himself, albeit briefly, in Oliver Stone’s Snowden.
The former intelligence contractor, who copied and leaked classified NSA documents in 2013, makes his acting debut in the film that dramatizes his life, appearing in the final scene.
Snowden, via Google Hangouts, joined Stone and the film’s stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who plays Snowden) and Shailene Woodley (who plays Snowden’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills) for a Q&A session after a private screening of the film at Comic-Con.
When asked why he agreed to not only cooperate with the production but to also be in the movie, Snowden said: “There is a way we communicate and that is through storytelling. Now, I am not an actor and I don’t think anyone in politics is charismatic enough to connect with people on these issues that are so abstract.”
He added: “But when we have people, who are these avatars, who I like to think of as champions for the public good — like Shai and Joe — they can reach new audiences in new ways to get people talking about things that they don’t have time to read and look for in the academic setting.”
Stone was asked how it was to direct Snowden, who is self-admittedly not an actor.
“He talks so well in interviews but it is a hard for him to become a third person, it’s hard for him to make that leap.”
Stone said that they did nine takes of the scene, from multiple angels, adding, “It was a painful day. And I once directed Donald Trump.” Snowden retorted: “I want to avoid that association.”
Stone directed the presidential candidate for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, though the scene didn’t make it into the final cut of the movie. The director elaborated: “The difference between Donald and Ed, is that between every take Donald would jump up and say ‘Wasn’t that great!”
Snowden is set to hit theaters on September 16.
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