Edward Snowden

Oliver Stone buys rights to thriller by Edward Snowden's Russian lawyer

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 4:13am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 4:13am

Hollywood director Oliver Stone has acquired movie rights to a political thriller penned by US whistle-blower Edward Snowden's Russian lawyer, the pro-Kremlin attorney said yesterday.

It is the latest in a series of deals which illustrate that the former National Security Agency contractor's story has lost none of its potency. "The rights to my book have been handed over to Oliver Stone and producer Moritz Borman," Anatoly Kucherena told Agence France-Presse.

"He [Stone] met with me, he did not meet with Snowden. The book will be published later."

Kucherena is completing a potboiler dubbed the Time of the Octopus, which tells the story of a US whistle-blower, loosely based on Snowden's experiences.

One of Russia's most high-profile lawyers, Kucherena was among a select group of public figures granted a meeting with the US fugitive during his stay of over a month at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport last year.

The lawyer helped Snowden receive temporary asylum in Russia and has since acted as his spokesman and link to the outside world.

Filmmaker Stone, a trenchant critic of the American political establishment, has also purchased the movie rights to another book about Snowden written by Luke Harding of Britain's The Guardian.

The producers of the James Bond franchise will also make a movie about Snowden, after Sony Pictures acquired the rights to the new book by journalist Glenn Greenwald, who reported the story for The Guardian.

Bond producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli will make the movie version of No Place to Hide, described by Sony as "a political film that will resonate with today's movie-goers".

A Google search for Edward Snowden last night produced more than 50 million results - just 600,000 short of the number for US President Barack Obama. It reflects the astonishing effect the man who knows too much has had on the public psyche.

Aside from the geo-political shifts his revelations have caused and the huge influence they have had on privacy and trust in governments, they have spawned a cultural cottage industry. From Hollywood to China and all points in between, Snowden has gripped the public imagination - not always in a positive way - spawning movies, comic books and even a lucrative portrait painting business in Shenzhen.

Within days of Snowden revealing that the US had been hacking computers in Hong Kong and mainland China, four local amateur filmmakers produced a five-minute thriller depicting the nail-biting intrigue surrounding the intelligence leaker.

Shot in less than a week on a shoestring budget, the film Verax - Latin for "truth teller" and Snowden's online name - depicted the drama leading up to Snowden's leaks on vast US surveillance programmes being made public in Hong Kong.

Though production was rushed, the film, became a major YouTube hit.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse