Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been set to play Edward Snowden in Oliver Stone's biopic, Snowden, since November, but it was pretty much assumed he wouldn't have access to Snowden himself. Sure, an actor meeting the person they'll portray is standard practice, but things are a bit trickier when it comes to the infamous American hero-slash-traitor. However, in an interview with The Guardian, Gordon-Levitt revealed that he was been able to meet with Snowden before filming.
The two conversed in an undisclosed location for four hours. Gordon-Levitt told the Guardian that he went into the meeting, "wanting to understand this person that I was going to play, observing both his strengths and his weaknesses."
I left knowing without a doubt that what [Snowden] did, he did because he believed it was the right thing to do, that he believed it would help the country he loves. Now, as he would say, it’s not for him to say whether it was right or wrong. That’s really for people to decide on their own, and I would encourage anybody to decide that on their own. I don’t want to be the actor guy who’s like, 'You should listen to me! What he did was right!' I don’t think that’s my place. Even though that is what I believe – that what he did was right.
From the way he talks about Snowden, it sounds like their meeting was amicable: "What I found was someone warm, kind, [and] thoughtful." Surely the meeting will only enhance his performance in Snowden, which was supposed to hit theaters at Christmastime, but which will now premiere in 2016.