Edward Snowden Joins Oliver Stone and 'Snowden' Cast Via Video Chat at Private Film Screening


Edward Snowden may be persona non grata in the United States, but that didn't keep the CIA whistleblower from video conferencing in for a Q&A after a private screening of the new biopic about his life at Comic-Con in San Diego on Thursday.

The 33-year-old computer expert, who gained notoriety when he leaked classified documents detailing the U.S. government's domestic surveillance programs, called in via Google Hangouts to answer questions about the Oliver Stone-directed film, Snowden.

Snowden, who joined the celebrated director as well as the film's stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley, admitted that he had his reservations about participating in the biopic.

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"I don’t think anybody looks forward to having a movie made about yourself, especially a privacy advocate," Snowden explained.

However, he did endorse the film, and admitted that it's a fairly accurate portrayal of events. "I didn’t think there was a lot of fictionalization," he shared with the audience.

Snowden also revealed that several of his family members praised Gordon-Levitt's portrayal, marveling at how much the actor "sounded like him."

“I think it means a lot to have the endorsement of Ed himself," shared Gordon-Levitt.

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The former CIA employee fled America after absconding with the intel, which he later leaked to the New York Times, and eventually made his way to Russia, where he felt he was safe from the long arm of the U.S. government.

Snowden still resides in Moscow, where he lives with his girlfriend, and revealed during the Q&A, "I actually live a relatively free life."

Before the private screening, the cast and creator sat down for a panel discussion in Hall H, where Gordon-Levitt talked about traveling to Moscow to meet Snowden face-to-face.

"He's very polite. I think that's actually pretty charming. He's like an old-fashioned gentleman in that way. Really warm. He's an optimist," the 35-year-old actor recounted.

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ET caught up with Woodley on the red carpet at SDCC where she opened up about playing Snowden's girlfriend, Lindsay Mills.

"It was very foreign to me to play someone who is real, because not only am I trying to feel truthful and grounded in the dialogue that Oliver [Stone] and Kieran Fitzgerald, the writers of the film, created, but I'm also trying to pay homage to a living, breathing woman, without knowing that woman," Woodley admitted. Check out the video below to hear more.

Snowden hits theaters September 16.

Additional reporting by Philiana Ng.

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