It was inevitable that someone would make an Edward Snowden biopic, and it seems almost as inevitable that that someone should be Oliver Stone. The controversy-friendly filmmaker has just picked up the rights to The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, written by journalist Luke Harding. Hit the jump for all the details on the story.
The Guardian broke the news. Stone intends to direct the picture and has already begun working on the screenplay. In addition, he will produce the picture with his partner Moritz Borman. Harding and other Guardian journalists will serve as consultants.
Stone has previously gone on the record calling Snowden a “hero” for exposing the details of NSA’s global surveillance program, and President Barack Obama a “disgrace” for prioritizing the hunt for Snowden over the reformation of “George Bush-style eavesdropping techniques.” Not everyone will agree with those assessments, but Stone’s never been afraid to ruffle some feathers.
In a statement, Stone expressed his excitement about the new project. “This is one of the greatest stories of our time,” he said. “A real challenge. I’m glad to have the Guardian working with us.” The Guardian‘s EIC, Alan Rusbridger, returned the love. “We’re delighted to be working with Oliver Stone and Moritz Borman on the film,” he said.
Stone and Borman hope to shoot The Snowden Files by the end of the year, in a large part to get ahead of the competing Snowden biopic being developed by Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson for Sony. That one is based on No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who worked with Snowden to expose the NSA’s secrets.
Here’s the synopsis of Harding’s book (via Amazon):
IT BEGAN WITH A TANTALIZING, ANONYMOUS EMAIL: “I AM A SENIOR MEMBER OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY.”
What followed was the most spectacular intelligence breach ever, brought about by one extraordinary man. Edward Snowden was a 29-year-old computer genius working for the National Security Agency when he shocked the world by exposing the near-universal mass surveillance programs of the United States government. His whistleblowing has shaken the leaders of nations worldwide, and generated a passionate public debate on the dangers of global monitoring and the threat to individual privacy.
In a tour de force of investigative journalism that reads like a spy novel, award-winning Guardian reporter Luke Harding tells Snowden’s astonishing story—from the day he left his glamorous girlfriend in Honolulu carrying a hard drive full of secrets, to the weeks of his secret-spilling in Hong Kong, to his battle for asylum and his exile in Moscow. For the first time, Harding brings together the many sources and strands of the story—touching on everything from concerns about domestic spying to the complicity of the tech sector—while also placing us in the room with Edward Snowden himself. The result is a gripping insider narrative—and a necessary and timely account of what is at stake for all of us in the new digital age.