Edward Snowden said Joseph Gordon-Levitt scoped him out during an hours-long lunch

Credit: Getty; Jürgen Olczyk

Edward Snowden said Joseph Gordon-Levitt scoped him out in an hours-long lunch in preparation for the film chronicling the situation that led to his political exile.

“He’s an amazing guy,” Snowden, 33, told the Financial Times of the actor who flew to Moscow to meet with Snowden. “We had lunch and talked for several hours, just about everything, you know, sort of our personal lives, what we think about, what we care about, basic things like that.”

Gordon-Levitt plays the world’s most famous whistleblower in the Oliver Stone-directed Snowden – about the former NSA contractor who, in 2013, exposed several national and global surveillance programs conducted by the U.S.

Snowden told the Times that what he thought was a simple lunch turned out to be fodder for Gordon-Levitt’s movie portrayal of him.

“At the time I thought it was just a social visit but, after the fact, he told me that he was actually sort of scoping me out, trying to get my mannerisms and things like that, ” Snowden said.

Snowden Movie Sneak Peek

Still, Snowden, who has seen the film, said he was “impressed” with Gordon-Levitt’s performance – although, he said, Gordon-Levitt’s characterization of his “deep, gravelly voice” makes him uncomfortable.

As for what he thinks of the film, Snowden said the movie gave him a sense of “relief” because it reinforces that his actions more than three years ago have had an impact on the world.

“There’s always going to be something emotional about seeing something that you did retold as a story by other people,” he told the Times. “It shows a reflection of how your choices matter to them and what it meant to them. And I couldn’t be more grateful.”

He added that when The Guardian first published his story, he feared that “no one will care and nothing would change.” But years later, Snowden said he’s glad he was wrong.

“What we thought was going to be a five-day story is still being reported on … I wasn’t crazy,” he said. “This is a real controversy, this is something that people do care about and should have been told about.”

Snowden, starring Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley, hits U.S. theaters on Friday.