Comic-Con 2016 — 5 Things We Learned From The “Snowden” Panel

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snowden comic-con oliver stone joseph gordon-levitt

Things at took a political turn in Hall H when Oliver Stone appeared on the dais to promote his upcoming film . Along with stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, and Zachary Quinto, the first time Comic-Con attendee and -winning director talked up his film about controversial whistle-blower Edward Snowden who made headlines for leaking info from the NSA to the press. The man has been seen as a soldier, fugitive, patriot, spy, hacker, traitor, and a hero. The panel had lots to say about the film, Snowden himself and how making it shifted their views on privacy and technology. Here are some of the things we learned about the unlikely film to take over Hall H.

1.) Initially, Stone didn’t want to make the movie.

Considering the content of the movie, Stone admitted that he had to jump lots of hurdles to get it made. In fact, he didn’t want to direct it at all. It took three meetings in order for him to say yes. From rewrites to finding a to distribute it, it was a long and rocky road to get the film to where it is today.

2.) Before signing on, JGL didn’t know much about Snowden.

Donned in an appropriate American flag shirt, Gordon-Levitt admitted that he didn’t know much about Snowden before signing on to the movie. He knew his name, but during the time when the leaks happened, he wasn’t following the controversy. It wasn’t until he got the role that he dug deep into Snowden’s story which he learned wasn’t so black and white. Gordon-Levitt said that you can’t just take one person’s word about the story — especially with someone like Snowden.

“Political stories become complicated when you take the time to look into them,” said Gordon-Levitt. So that’s what he did.

3.) Snowden is a nice dude.

JGL says that you can learn a lot about someone from having a meal with them. When he met with Snowden for dinner, he learned that he, unlike what people may think, was optimistic and polite. And the first thing that Snowden learned from Gordon-Levitt was the correct pronunciation of his media company HITRECORD (it’s record as in “make a copy of” rather than a vinyl record).

4.) Stone doesn’t trust Pokemon Go.

A light-hearted and fun question about the popular Pokemon Go game took a turn in a different direction when Stone said that the app was a new level of invasion and could lead to totalitarianism. (Delete the app NOW.) He also went on to say that they are data mining every person in the room. “It’s what they call surveillance capitalism,” he added.

Needless to say, the comments lead to a really bizarre vibe of awkward paranoia.

5.) Quinto, on the other hand, doesn’t mind Pokemon Go.

Quinto, who plays journalist Glenn Greenwald in Snowden, doesn’t mind Pokemon Go — but he likes to put his mobile device down every now and then have face-to-face interaction. He was later asked a question from the audience and answered, “What? I didn’t hear you. I was playing Pokemon Go,” after looking up from his phone. He was joking of course.

 | Staff 

Keep up with our coverage of Comic-Con 2016 here.

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