In the clip, Snowden (as portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) showcases his prolific programming skills during an aptitude test that has him create, destroy, and then restore a covert communications system in his hometown — a feat he accomplishes in just 38 minutes.
Written and directed by three-time Academy Award winner (and 11-time nominee) Stone, Snowden is based on Russian attorney Anatoly Kucherena’s novel Time of the Octopus, which chronicles his time working with Snowden in Russia (where he still serves as his legal representation). The film also drew inspiration from Luke Harding’s novel The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man.
In the film, Looper actor Gordon-Levitt portrays Snowden throughout his life and career leading up to and following his decision to leak classified information about the American government’s surveillance of its citizens. It also covers his time spent in Russia while attempting to receive asylum and avoid extradition to the U.S.
Along with Gordon-Levitt in the title role, the film also features Divergent franchise star Shailene Woodley as Snowden’s girlfriend, who currently lives with him in Russia, as well as Oscar winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek Into Darkness), Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton), Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man), Timothy Olyphant (Justified), Scott Eastwood (Gran Torino), and Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas).
Snowden is expected to have a wide release in theaters beginning September 16.