Last year, with a few competing projects in development, DreamWorks struck the first blow releasing their Julian Assange movie "The Fifth Estate" and ... no one cared. The Benedict Cumberbatch vehicle wasn't well received critically, and did even worse at the box office, flopping hard and taking only $8 million worldwide. That's right, it didn't even hit double digits. And now, another headline-grabbing whistleblower is getting the big screen treatment, but will the result be any different?
Well, the folks behind the adaptation of Luke Harding's "The Snowden Files" are hoping the controversial likes of Oliver Stone will get butts in the seats. The director behind "Nixon," "Platoon," "W" and "JFK" has been tasked with helming the project and he's pretty excited. "This is one of the greatest stories of our time," Stone told The Guardian. "A real challenge. I'm glad to have the Guardian working with us." That's right, the British paper will be consulting on the story (Harding is a writer for the paper) and it makes sense given they were involved in the early revelations of Snowden's trove of material he smuggled out of the NSA, with Glenn Greenwald's work in particular first shining on a light on the mass surveillance conducted by the United States government.
But of course, whether or not Stone can reign in his worst, hysterical tendencies to tell a story that is shocking and fascinating enough on the page as is, remains to be seen. Production on this one is set to start before the end of the year, beating a rival movie being worked on based on Greenwald's book, "No Place To Hide." Until more details emerge, here's the Amazon synopsis of "The Snowden Files" followed by Snowden's recent, extensive NBC interview.
It began with an unsigned email: "I am a senior member of the intelligence community".
What followed was the most spectacular intelligence breach ever, brought about by one extraordinary man. The consequences have shaken the leaders of nations worldwide, from Obama to Cameron, to the presidents of Brazil, France, and Indonesia, and the chancellor of Germany.
Edward Snowden, a young computer genius working for America's National Security Agency, blew the whistle on the way this powerful organisation uses new technology to spy on the entire planet. The spies call it "mastering the internet". Others call it the death of individual privacy.
This is the inside story of Snowden's deeds and the journalists who faced down the pressure from US and British governments to break a remarkable scoop.
Snowden's story reads like a globe-trotting thriller, from the day he left his glamorous girlfriend on the island of Hawaii carrying a hard drive full of secrets, to the weeks of his secret-spilling in Hong Kong, and his battle for asylum. Now stuck in Moscow, a uniquely hunted man, he faces US espionage charges and an uncertain future in exile.
What drove Snowden to sacrifice himself? Award-winning Guardian journalist Luke Harding answers the question which should trouble every citizen of the internet age.