Oliver Stone is an Academy award-winning director and screenwriter. Many of his films deal with political and war related issues such as Platoon, which was based on his experiences during the Vietnam War. Stone will release his upcoming film, Snowden, on September 16, 2016.
Harvard Political Review: Given the political nature of your films, JFK, Salvador and Platoon, I think about the last line in the movie Platoon and I wonder, do you see filming as a responsibility?
Oliver Stone: Yes, I do. Very much so, especially when you make a movie about someone who exists in real life. Here [Mr. Stone shows me his smartphone] is a quote from Snowden from an interview with the Financial Times, the London paper, where he says this is “as close to real as you can get.” There are some things he cannot reveal nor did he reveal them in the documentary, not even close. He just cannot talk about those things because he is under indictment.
HPR: What is it like to meet with Snowden and what is his life like as seen from the meetings you had with him?
OS: I thought he was very articulate, young and I guess I was most impressed that he did this at the age of twenty-nine, which is amazing, to give up so much of your life for sacrifice and for a matter of principle, his loyalty being to the constitution, to the Fourth Amendment, the First Amendment and not to the NSA or the CIA.
HPR: On that note, do you think you would have done the same thing were you in Snowden’s shoes?
OS: No, I never would have been able to at that age. Maybe now I would but it certainly is a big and lonely stretch of time. You have to admire young people who do that. I did a movie like that about a person like that also, Born on the Fourth of July, with Ron Kovic and Tom Cruise. As you remember not only Ron but hundreds of other people spoke out, strongly, and I admire that. But in Snowden’s case very few people have spoken out about the NSA’s illegalities. William Binney was one of the first, he was a phone man and then there was Thomas Drake but they all got punished so I think that was a deciding factor in the way that Snowden did it, he had to and he could not do it through channels.
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