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12 Mar, 2016 02:43

Snowden movie co-creator: ‘US State Dept and president did not want this film’

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, whose novel Time of the Octopus provided the basis for the upcoming movie “Snowden” shot by Oliver Stone, spoke to RT about the unexpected challenges filmmakers encountered in the US.

READ MORE: Denmark officially confirms US plane was in Copenhagen in June 2013 to fly Snowden to America

Simply called Snowden, the biographical thriller directed by Oliver Stone tells the story of the US National Security Agency whistleblower who revealed the agency’s pervasive surveillance to Americans and the world. Though the film has already gone through the post-production stage, it turns out that getting there wasn’t easy, as a number of obstacles were encountered in its making, as Kucherena, who is also a co-creator, revealed in an interview with RT.

One of the key problems Stone had to face was the lack of people in the US willing to fund the production, Kucherena said. He explained that wealthy potential donors had privately indicated that the US establishment had labeled the film as “unwanted,” leading them to refuse sponsorship “by default.”

“For the most part, the film is financed by Germany and France, while Americans turned out to be not that interested… Some wealthy people and major US companies refused to sponsor, hinting at the authorities, and saying they’d been told it was not desirable to fund such a movie,” he explained.

“I cannot but agree with Oliver Stone, who said that America doesn’t care about films about human rights activists that are alive now. America prefers activists that are already dead.”

The lawyer also recalls an unpleasant incident that happened in the US that influenced the final decision not to shoot the film in America.

“Our crew arrived at a place where Edward used to hang out, and then all of sudden a secret services squad turned up and a rather intense conflict took place,” he said.

Eventually, the set had to be moved to Germany and other countries.

“That wasn’t an easy decision, as we realized that it would be difficult to make a film about Edward Snowden outside the US,” Kucherena said.

The lawyer added that “we understood very well that… the US State Department and the US president certainly did not want such a movie,” pointing out that the US government has generally failed to “score points” following Snowden’s revelations by admitting the mistakes they had made.

Kucherena also noted that Oliver Stone had visited him in Moscow at least eight times to discuss the script. The director encouraged him to get fully engaged in the filmmaking process and speak up every time he disagreed with what was happening on the film set. The lawyer praised Stone as a “unique” and “fearless” director, as well as a “great artist.”

Snowden had a hand in making the film as well, consulting Stone and helping with the casting. With his advice in mind, Stone gave the main part to 35-year-old Joseph Gorden-Levitt. The film is set to premier on September 16, 2016.