Oliver Stone and the cast of Snowden appeared at Comic-Con for an open panel discussion. The topics varied from the norm as Stone stated his opinion of Pokemon GO. Stone believes the new game will not only track people but lead people, controlling their travels, habits, and purchases. It is a big step towards total control of ordinary people’s individual lives.
His opinions were documented by Time.
“What’s happening is a new level of invasion… They’ve invested a huge amount of money in data mining—what you are buying, what you like, your behavior. It’s what some people call surveillance capitalism…That is what they call totalitarianism.”
Edward Snowden, the now exiled government contractor who leaked NSA documents, also made a live appearance via technology. He appeared on-screen from Russia where he must be protected from the United States Government due to his fight against government surveillance of ordinary citizens. Edward gave his official approval to the movie. Although skeptical about the movie at first, the exiled whistleblower is now fully on board, and even makes a cameo at the end of the movie.
Oliver Stone explained that it was impossible to get funding for the movie, Snowden, within the United States, where the whistleblowing activist is most controversial. According to the Daily Mail, Oliver had to go outside the country to France and Germany to obtain the necessary funding.
Time recorded Stone’s statements.
“It was turned down by every major studio. The script was good, the budget was good, the cast was good. We call it self-censorship. I don’t think there was an enemy like the NSA lurking in the background. It was self-censorship.”
Edward Snowden was simply too hot of a topic. He is heralded as a hero and patriot by many, but to others, he is a spy and a traitor. Making a controversial film like this is risky to everyone involved, but at the same time, it is vital to society to open the dialog. Edward’s situation is complex, and it takes a film to really explain it. Documentaries exist, but Stone believes a feature film is what it will take for the general pubic to really comprehend it.
Oliver Stone believes his troubles in finding a studio were due to corporate boards, not the National Security Agency. The corporate leaders are the real censors in this situation. He also cited potential lawsuits as a deterrent to making controversial and current films.
“I really didn’t want to do this film. If it’s current, you get killed with lawsuits. Often what happens is even the protagonist turns against you.”
When Oliver Stone and Edward Snowden finally met, however, both men became convinced the movie would work. They started to like and trust each other. After a total of three meetings, the film had clicked into place.
Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden, will answer a lot of questions for the public. The ideas involved are just too big for news articles and tweets according to Oliver, who is now very enthusiastic about the theme of the movie. This conspiracy thriller portrays Edward in a positive light and shows his ethical struggles in detail, while not taking sides against the NSA.
Edward Snowden verifies that while the film fictionalized some of the technical details, the movie is highly accurate in chronicling his experiences. For example, the movie portrays Snowden slipping those documents out on an SD card, hidden in a Rubics Cube. Edward can’t reveal how he actually did it, but praises Oliver’s creativity in inventing a fictionalized method, according to USA Today.
Oliver Stone and Edward Snowden’s movie, Snowden, will be released to theaters September 16.
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