Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Secret Meeting With Edward Snowden: ‘He Very Much Would Like to Come Home’

The actor met the whistleblower to prepare for the highly-anticipated biopic “Snowden,” which will be released in 2016

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To prepare for his role as Edward Snowden in the highly-anticipated biopic, “Snowden,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt flew to Russia for a secret meeting with the exiled whistleblower.

In an interview with The Guardian, the actor talked for the first time about his experience meeting Snowden — a meeting that his lawyers pressured to keep under the radar. At first, the meeting was held purely for research, but Gordon-Levitt left Russia believing that what Snowden did was right.

“[I was] wanting to understand this person that I was going to play, observing both his strengths and his weaknesses,” said the actor. “I left knowing without a doubt that what [Snowden] did, he did because he believed it was the right thing to do, that he believed it would help the country he loves.”

Snowden is the former government contractor who leaked classified information from the NSA in 2013. In June of that year, he flew to Moscow, where he remains today while seeking asylum in a different country.

“He was in good spirits,” Gordon-Levitt said of his meeting with Snowden. “Certainly there was that note, that he very much would like to come home. He doesn’t want to live in Russia at all.”

“Snowden” was set for a Christmas release, but was pushed back earlier this week to sometime in 2016. The film costars Shailene Woodley, Scott Eastwood, Nicolas Cage, Rhys Ifans and Zachary Quinto.

Gordon-Levitt will also be on screen in “The Walk,” a movie about wire-walker Philippe Petit, which hits theaters Sept. 30.