Bethany Biron
November 26, 2016 10:08 am
Open Road Films

When it comes to getting into the mind of his characters, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a pro. Turns out Edward Snowden’s parents noticed.

First, Gordon-Levitt spent hours watching videos of Edward Snowden to perfect his voice and mannerisms before starring in the biopic, Snowden, earlier this fall. Then, he flew to Russia to meet the Snowden himself on several occasions.

Now we learned Gordon-Levitt had the opportunity to meet Snowden’s parents after the film, in a meeting in Moscow that was surprisingly touching.

Gordon-Levitt shared details of meeting Snowden’s parents on England’s The Graham Norton Show. The actor explained that the feedback he received from the Snowden family was the most validating of his career, transcending box office records and awards.


Snowden is a particularly controversial figure for exposing confidential National Security Agency files without clearance, showing evidence of surveillance programs being used on the American people.

While some like Gordon-Levitt view him as American hero, others deem him a traitor.

He remains in exile in Russia seeking asylum from the U.S. government.


Gordon-Levitt and Norton went on to discuss the possibility of President Obama pardoning Snowden, as one on of his last acts in office. Several human rights groups, including Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union, continue to lobby for his release.

You can watch the full interview (which includes Tom Hanks!) below.

We can’t help but get a little teary about Snowden’s mom. Missing your kid is pretty universal!