First look: Joseph Gordon-Levitt as NSA leaker Edward Snowden

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt speaks onstage during an event on April 5, 2014 in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty for Motion Picture & Television Fund)
Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt speaks onstage during an event on April 5, 2014 in Hollywood, Calif.

Film fans are getting their first glimpse of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt in character as former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed the massive scale of U.S. surveillance efforts both at home and abroad.

The "Looper" star tweeted on-set photos of himself as Snowden in fatigues, and director Oliver Stone in his first-ever "selfie."

Gordon-Levitt was cast in the project (currently titled "Snowden") last fall for the Open Road Films and Endgame Entertainment co-production.“I’ve long been an admirer of Oliver Stone and this continues our determination to work with great directors. I’m also delighted to renew our collaboration with Open Road and look forward to participating in this important film,” James D. Stern, CEO of Endgame Entertainment, said in joint a press release from the two studios last November.

The film, due out on Christmas Day of this year, features an all-star cast including Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Nicolas Cage, and Timothy Olyphant, and is already generating Oscar buzz. Snowden was also the subject of a 2014 documentary, "Citizenfour," which won an Academy Award last month. 

“The disclosures that Edward Snowden reveals don’t only expose the threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself,” said Laura Poitras, director of “Citizenfour,” while accepting the award. “When the most important decisions being made affecting all of us are made in secret we lose our ability to check the powers that control.”

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According to Reuters, Snowden, who has been living in Russia to avoid prosecution for revealing state secrets here in the U.S., is in talks to make a safe return to his native country. 

"I won't keep it secret that he ... wants to return back home. And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue. There is a group of U.S. lawyers, there is also a group of German lawyers and I'm dealing with it on the Russian side," his attorney Anatoly Kucherena told reporters on Tuesday.

Russia granted Snowden asylum in 2013 and has steadfastly refused to extradite him despite appeals from the U.S.

Photo Essay: Watching You, Watching Me: How surveillance affects modern life