LONDON – Oliver Stone is to make a film about fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, based on a book by a British journalist, it was announced Monday.
Luke Harding, the author of “The Snowden Files: The Inside Story Of The World’s Most Wanted Man,” said on Twitter that the U.S. filmmaker has bought the movie rights to the book.
I'm thrilled and delighted. Look forward to working with @TheOliverStone on terrific project. Film to be major European co-production
— Luke Harding (@lukeharding1968) June 2, 2014
Harding, who writes for British newspaper The Guardian, said Stone would write and direct the film with his long-term producing partner Moritz Borman.
“I’m thrilled and delighted,” the journalist said.
Stone, an Oscar-winning director whose films include “Wall Street,” “JFK,” and “Nixon” said he was looking forward to making the film.
“This is one of the greatest stories of our time. A real challenge,” he said.
The Guardian said Stone had begun writing the screenplay, while Borman was “fast-tracking it as a major European co-production” to start filming before the end of the year.
Harding and other Guardian journalists are due to act as production and story consultants.
“The story of Edward Snowden is truly extraordinary, and the unprecedented revelations he brought to light have forever transformed our understanding of — and relationship with — government and technology,” said Alan Rusbridger, The Guardian’s editor-in-chief. “We’re delighted to be working with Oliver Stone and Moritz Borman on the film.”
Snowden is wanted by U.S. authorities for leaking series of U.S. intelligence secrets, and is currently living in Russia. His U.S. passport has been revoked.
Snowden has said he is open to the possibility of clemency or amnesty and would like to return home one day. But he maintains he carried out a patriotic act by exposing huge surveillance dragnets he said infringed the U.S. Constitution.
Washington says Snowden is welcome to return home but only to face trial for exposing sensitive top secret information it says aided U.S. enemies.
The Stone film is not the only one being made about Snowden, based on a Guardian writer’s book. Sony Pictures Entertainment said last month it has acquired the rights to the new book by Glenn Greenwald, who led the Pulitzer Prize-winning team at The Guardian that covered the story.
James Bond franchise producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli will make the movie version of “No Place to Hide,” described as “a political film that will resonate with today’s moviegoers.”
In related news, The Sunday Times reported on May 18 that Greenwald is working on his biggest piece yet about the U.S. intelligence revelations, and is about to publish a list of names of U.S. citizens on which the U.S. government spied. Should be interesting.