Joseph Gordon-Levitt Secretly Met Edward Snowden for Biopic Role, Calls Him “Warm, Kind, Thoughtful”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Edward Snowden
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is set to play Edward Snowden in upcoming biopic Snowden. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Barton Gellman/Getty Images

He’s come a long way from Third Rock From the Sun. Joseph Gordon-Levitt had a top-secret meeting with Edward Snowden as part of his research for his lead role in upcoming biopic Snowden — and the actor says the NSA whistle-blower couldn’t have been nicer.

“He was in good spirits,” the 34-year-old actor told The Guardian of the former NSA contractor who left the U.S. and leaked classified government documents to journalists in 2013. “Certainly there was that note, that he very much would like to come home. He doesn’t want to live in Russia at all.”

According to Gordon-Levitt, the meeting was so secretive that Snowden’s lawyers initially didn’t want word to get out that it happened at all. But, the actor said, the in-person encounter was not only necessary, it was born of “wanting to understand this person that I was going to play, observing both his strengths and his weaknesses.”

Therefore, Gordon-Levitt reasoned, it would only help him to portray the former CIA employee, 32, that much more accurately.

The Inception actor called Snowden “warm, kind, [and] thoughtful,” but was also cautious to point out that he obviously has his own biases when it comes to what Snowden did.

“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,” he said. “Even though that is what I believe — that what he did was right.”

But Gordon-Levitt has been good at keeping his own life confidential this past year as well. The actor quietly wed girlfriend Tasha McCauley last December, and the pair welcomed a baby boy in August.

The name of their baby boy: still unknown.

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