Director Oliver Stone Took the 'Snowden' Actor to Meet the Fugitive He Portrays

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Edward Snowden in the new Oliver Stone film Snowden, and the actor needed to do a little research. On Stephen Colbert's "Late Show" Tuesday night, Gordon-Levitt shared some details of his four-hour meeting with the NSA whistleblower who is in asylum in Russia. 


Snowden wasn't exactly how Gordon-Levitt expected the fugitive to be.

"It's funny, because he's always trying to take the attention off himself and put the attention on the issues he wants to talk about," Gordon-Levitt told a doubtful Colbert, given Snowden's request of the president Tuesday.

"Today he tried to put the attention on himself because he asked President Obama for a pardon," Colbert reminded the actor. 

Gordon-Levitt agreed, but had another agenda when he met the former NSA contractor. 

"He wasn't talking about what he liked to eat for lunch and how he walked and talked. Those are the things I wanted to pay attention to," Gordon-Levitt explained.

"Oh, as an actor," mused Colbert. "So did you get anything from him?"

Gordon-Levitt did. Snowden defied expectatiions with his firm handshake and old-fashioned good manners, according to the actor. 

"I didn't expect it," the actor told Colbert, admiting, "For better or worse, there's a sterotyoe they might have been guilty of sort of falling into, this prejudice that guys that are good at computers are socially awkward."

But Snowden's good manners did not convince Gordon-Levitt that he definitely deserves a pardon. 

"It's complicated and I understand why people consider [Snowden] a criminal," Gordon-Levitt told Colbert. "He broke the law... when he gave classified documents to journalists... but the NSA was also breaking the law a million times every day and lying to the American people about it, and we didn't know anything about that until Edward Snowden provided the evidence."

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