Casting Edward Snowden for Hollywood Film

Now that a WikiLeaks movie is about to hit the screens, Hollywood has turned its hungry maw to the next real life story: Glenn Greenwald’s upcoming book about Edward Snowden. According to the New York Times:

20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Entertainment and the cable television powerhouse HBO were among potential buyers that had considered the project, according to several people who were briefed on it, but spoke on condition of anonymity because of confidentiality strictures.

Note the use of the past tense “had considered,” that’s because there are some problems with the story from a filmmaking perspective.

There is the issue of “life rights” because while the film could be based on Greenwald’s book,  Snowden, journalist Lauren Poitras, and Snowden’s WikiLeaks traveling companion, journalist Sarah Harrison may not have their life rights available, meaning  filmmakers would have to rely on material publicly available under Fair Use, and hope that these principals (and Julian Assange who will no doubt figure in the film) will not interfere.

There are some hurdles in terms of plot–some could say the the final act has yet to be played out, though, actually being alive and free is pretty much a happy ending. Oh and wait, there’s this whole thing about how some people in the government and the public are very very upset at Snowden….

But none of that detracts from the fun of playing casting director: Joseph-Gordon Levitt or maybe dreamy Twilight star Robert Pattinson as Snowden,  John Cusack as Greenwald, though some of have been championing  Ben Stiller. Maybe Megan Fox as the dancer girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, Snowden abandons in Hawaii (who thankfully hasn’t decided to pose for Playboy–yet),  Emma Stone as Sarah Harrison, Ryan Philippe as Assange…

Who would you cast?

Glenn Greenwald’s book is due out March 2014 from Macmillan’s Metropolitan Books. His agent and the Guardian newspaper, which originally published Greenwald’s reporting on Snowden declined comment.

Matt Damon: Snowden Did a Great Thing

In this barely viewed video shot for UK Screen, Matt Damon answers a journalist’s question about Edward Snowden, admitting while he hasn’t read all the material Snowden leaked, he thinks the whistleblower

did a great thing

and that Snowden seemed like a:

conscientious guy.

The actor goes on to say:

If we’re going to trade our civil liberties for our security, then that should be a decision that we collectively make, it shouldn’t be made for us.

He then further discusses the sacrifice of personal liberty for security.


Late Night: Some Random Thoughts on Edward Snowden


Hong Kong wanted him gone, and Putin clearly feels Edward Snowden–who celebrated his 30th birthday by placing everyone’s cellphones in the fridge–has outstayed his welcome in the pod hotel at the not-really-Russia airport.

Meanwhile tomorrow we have the potential of DOMA and Prop 8, which is pretty exciting!


We Should Have Listened to Shia LaBeouf About the NSA!


Celebrities talk a lot about stuff–and sometimes about stuff they don’t really know much about. But five years ago, as a guest on Tonight Show with Jay Leno, actor Shia LaBeouf brought up something that seems far more important now than it did then–and maybe we should have paid attention.

LaBeouf was discussing his experiences filming Eagle Eye, a thriller about

a young man and a single mother who are brought together and coerced by an anonymous caller into carrying out a plan by a possible terrorist organization.

The film had an FBI consultant. The consultant, according to LeBeouf,  told him that home alarm monitors could be turned on to monitor households, and that cars could be shutdown using OnStar. And that one in five phone calls were recorded by the government. To prove the point, LaBeouf continued, the FBI consultant played back a call the actor had made two years earlier, before he was associated with the picture,

one of those what are you are wearing type of things.

Okay that is creepy. But wow, they must have gotten really close for the consultant to show him all that spai stuff.

According to IMDBpro, the FBI technical consultant on Eagle Eye was Thomas Knowles. A quick Google search shows that Knowles retired from the FBI in 2006, and in 2009

joined the Board of Directors of Continental Prison Systems, Inc. (Pink Sheets:CPSZ), and its operating division called EZ Card & Kiosk, which provides the “cashless jail” solution to city and county jails around the US. Mr. Knowles, who retired from the FBI in 2006, brings superior organizational, analytical and exceptional decisiveness and problem-solving skills to the company….

In 1985, Mr. Knowles began his FBI career, with assignments in Oklahoma, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Athens, Greece, Kandahar, Afghanistan and the FBI Headquarters Office in Washington, D.C. While with the FBI, Mr. Knowles pursued investigations in violent crime matters such as drugs, kidnappings, bank robberies and organized crime, before transferring to the International Terrorism Division just prior to the first bombing of the World Trade Center Towers in February of 1993. He then continued his work in terrorism matters both living and working assignments in Greece, the Middle East and the former Soviet Republic break-away states, before returning to FBI Headquarters as Chief of the International Operations Section responsible for FBI international offices. He retired from the FBI after managing a joint law enforcement terrorism task force, yet remains actively involved in the fight against both international and domestic terrorists.

Eagle Eye is the only film for which he has been credited as consultant.