Shailene Woodley, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zachary Quinto walked the red carpet for the premiere of Snowden at TIFF

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated September 10, 2016 12:00 PM
Credit: Eric Charbonneau/AP Images

From Russia, with love: Oliver Stone’s Snowden has made its grand debut at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The film, which chronicles NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden‘s journey from the Army to political exile in Moscow, premiered Friday, with stars Shailene Woodley, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zachary Quinto walking the red carpet in Toronto.

In the film Gordon-Levitt, 35, portrays Snowden, and Woodley, 24, his girlfriend Lindsay Mills.

Quinto, who plays Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists who broke the story, called for Snowden to be allowed back to the United States.

“I do think [Snowden] should be able to come back [to the US]. I think it’s a very complicated issue in terms of how that would happen,” Quinto told the Press Association on the red carpet.

“The idea of him being charged under the Espionage Act or branded as a treasonist is absurd. I think he is someone of great integrity and great courage. I think what he did is underestimated now, in a lot of ways, but I think will be looked back on with the magnitude it deserves.”

“Hopefully he can enjoy some freedoms again in his life. He deserves that in my opinion.”

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The actor posted a shot from the red carpet to his Instagram, writing, “So thrilled to be at my first TIFF with a movie i am so proud to be a part of. i am so inspired by my fellow cast mates – and to have worked with one of my childhood heroes oliver stone.”

Gordon-Levitt prepared for the role by meeting with Snowden himself, during multiple under-the-radar trips to Russia with the filmmaking team.

“A few months before shooting the movie, I did have a chance to sit with him in person,” Gordon-Levitt told reporters earlier this month. He said he spent four hours with Snowden and Mills, who now resides with him in the country. Ultimately, the pair met up nine times.

Key takeaways from the sit-downs? Snowden’s “old-fashioned” manners and “social grace.”

“I really noticed that,” Gordon-Levitt said. “I wanted to incorporate it into my performance of him.”

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Snowden hits U.S. theaters on Sept. 16.