With government surveillance remaining a hot news topic, one of filmmaking's biggest firebrands will seek to give it the big-screen treatment.
Oliver Stone will write and direct a narrative adaptation of "The Snowden Files," Luke Harding's nonfiction account of the ongoing scandal surrounding former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The news was announced by the Guardian, which is involved with the film. Harding, a reporter for the British newspaper, received strong reviews for his book, with some describing its pacing as akin to that of a spy thriller.
Stone acquired the rights with longtime producing partner Moritz Borman, and Harding and other Guardian journalists will serve as consultants on the movie. The Guardian has been at the center of the Snowden story for some time, thanks to reporting by investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald in its pages.
Production on the film is set to begin by the end of the year, said the paper, which did not offer details about financing or distribution.
Snowden leaked thousands of classified documents about U.S. surveillance activities in June 2013 and was branded both a hero (by Stone, among others) and a traitor. After being charged with felony espionage and theft of government property, Snowden fled the U.S. and was granted temporary asylum in Russia.
"This is one of the greatest stories of our time," Stone, 67, said in a statement. "A real challenge."
It's no wonder Snowden's story would appeal to Stone, who is one of the most openly ideological filmmakers in Hollywood, offering charged interpretations of historical events with movies such as "JFK" and "Born on the Fourth of July,"
A rival Snowden movie based on Greenwald's "No Place to Hide" is also in the works from Sony and producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, of the James Bond film franchise.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times