Joseph Gordon-Levitt: "The Point of Making a Movie Like 'Snowden' Is to Start a Conversation" | Actor Oscar Roundtable

"I can read about what exactly he did and why, but what you can't necessarily get from watching him give an interview or a speech or reading an article about him is those little human things."

"Once I did some learning of my own, I realized I'm really grateful for what this man did, and I consider it an honor to try to help tell his story," Joseph Gordon-Levitt told The Hollywood Reporter during the Actor Oscar Roundtable of his portrayal of Edward Snowden in Oliver Stone's Snowden. The former CIA employee and whistleblower's story previously was highlighted in Laura Poitras' Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour. "There's so much confusion about what he did. There's a lot of misinformation about what he did and didn't do," said Gordon-Levitt.

Gordon-Levitt admits he got a lot of criticism for playing Snowden, but, he said, "to me, that's sort of a sign that it's working."

"That's how a democracy best works," said the actor, "is when people are having conversations and disagreeing. Disagreement's not bad. Controversy's not bad. That's how you're going to work things out and make progress."

More roundtables featuring actresses, screenwriters, songwriters, documentarians, directors, composers and producers will continue throughout February in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With 'The Hollywood Reporter' starting Jan. 15 on Sundance TV, and look for clips at with full episodes on after broadcast.