The New York Times reports: Oliver Stone, one of Hollywood’s most provocative directors, will make a movie about one of the world’s most divisive figures: Edward Snowden.
Mr. Stone, who has been vocal in his support for Mr. Snowden, calling the former National Security Agency contractor a “hero,” for instance, on Monday confirmed plans to adapt “The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man” for the screen. That book was written by Luke Harding, a journalist for The Guardian newspaper; Mr. Harding will serve as a production consultant.
“This is one of the greatest stories of our time,” Mr. Stone said in a statement. “A real challenge. I’m glad to have The Guardian working with us.” No studio partner or financing plan was announced.
Mr. Stone, who has been circling Mr. Snowden since early spring, when he visited him in Moscow, will have to race a rival project: Last month, Sony Pictures Entertainment bought the film rights to Glenn Greenwald’s “No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the N.S.A. and the U.S. Surveillance State.” Sony’s film is being produced by the team behind the James Bond franchise.
The dueling adaptations come after lukewarm interest from Hollywood. Studios in particular got spooked by “The Fifth Estate,” a DreamWorks Studios movie about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks that bombed at the box office in October, costing $28 million to make and taking in just $8.6 million worldwide.
Given Stone’s longstanding interest in Snowden, I would assume that he made an offer to buy the film rights to Greenwald’s book. If that’s the case, did Greenwald feel like the James Bond franchise producers would make a better movie, or did it simply come down to the question of who was willing to pay the most? Studios obviously have deeper pockets than directors.