There’s no better way to turn any family get-together into a screaming match than to bring up Edward Snowden, the CIA whistleblower who revealed the extent of NSA surveillance on American citizens and became an international fugitive. You know, one man’s patriot is another man’s traitor and so on and so forth. Well, director Oliver Stone is looking to ruin a whole bunch of Christmas dinners this year with Snowden, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the most polarizing figure in modern American history. Consider the release of two images of Gordon-Levitt as Snowden your cue to start prepping for your next family argument.

The first image was revealed on Gordon-Levitt’s Facebook page, showing the Inception star as Snowden before he was in the CIA. He provided some context for this first look, explaining that Edward Snowden was an army recruit before he an accident sidelined him:

I was surprised when I first learned this about Snowden – that he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2004. He wanted to go fight in Iraq, but during basic training at Fort Benning, he broke both of his legs and received an administrative discharge. After that, he was still determined to serve his country (love him or hate him, you gotta admit the guy’s strong-willed) and so he ended up getting a job at the CIA, which is where his career in Intelligence began.

And because Gordon-Levitt is nothing if not a huge film buff, he shared his excitement about being directed by two-time Oscar winner Oliver Stone:

Today’s scenes felt like a really good way to start this shoot. It was hard, but of course, nowhere near as hard as real basic training. And me, I’m just honored and excited to be doing a soldier sequence with Oliver. I keep saying to myself: “F---, this guy directed Platoon!”

Snowden is in a very unique place. Like he did with the George W. Bush biopic W, Stone is tackling events so current that no one even knows how this story ends. Furthermore, the crucial events of this film were captured on camera in the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour, which means that this movie will adapt scenes that you can already see play out exactly as they happened in another movie. Some may even wonder why this movie even needs to exist, but then you remember that more people will watch an Oliver Stone movie starring a really likable actor than a documentary on, well, anything.

As a side-note, this is one of two films Gordon-Levitt is starring in this year that is based on events also seen in an Oscar-winning documentary. The other is Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk, which tells the same story as the incredible Man on Wire. Coincidence? Eh, probably.

Snowden, which also stars Nicolas Cage, Zachary Quinto, Melissa Leo, Tom Wilkinson and Shailene Woodley, is set to open on December 25, 2015.

Open Road
Open Road

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