The first full trailer for Oliver Stone’s political thriller, Snowden, was released today; it sees Joseph Gordon-Levitt doing all of the things we’d imagine Edward Snowden doing (with a funny and somewhat stiff hybrid of Snowden/Gordon-Levitt voice) if Edward Snowden lived in a somewhat Hollywood-ified version of Edward Snowden’s experience. For example, did Edward Snowden get an education in peering into the private lives of American citizens through his various jobs for the US government? Certainly. But did that education include a one-liner like — in response to him asking just how many Americans’ lives they can see — “The whole kingdom, Snow White”? Probably not.
According to the trailer description, the film is “the incredible untold personal story of Snowden, the polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world.” Through it, we see Snowden serving in the United States Army Reserve, and then joining the CIA and being a computer wiz, and then eventually down the line beginning his job as an NSA contractor. (He delivers the news of his new job to his girlfriend, played by Shailene Woodley, with excited crypticness — and we know it’s only a matter of time before that excitement turns into a massive moral quandary, a change of heart also perhaps catalyzed by having a stern Nicolas Cage as a boss).
We then see Joseph Snowden-Levitt sneaking the famous classified documents through security (the film has a stylish spin on the Rubik’s cube Snowden reportedly held in real life) to eventually deliver them to documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (who’d go on to make Citizenfour; she’s played here by Melissa Leo) and journalists Glenn Greenwald (played by Zachary Qunito) and Ewen MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson). Then the pace of the editing quickens, he has to go on the run, and you know the rest.
Edward Snowden himself tweeted about the trailer (which you can watch in his Tweet!):