Joseph Gordon-Levitt talks sci-fi, 'Snowden' and the internetThe upcoming star of the new Oliver Stone-directed film about Edward Snowden shares his thoughts on online collaboration and why privacy matters.
My name is Joseph Gordon Levitt. I'm an actor in a movie coming out, called Snowden. The government knows that we have these documents now. [MUSIC] I run a production company called Hit Record, you can come work with us. Back in 2005, I first started Hit Record with my brother. And that is my introduction to myself. [MUSIC] I always loved science fiction. Whenever they would go out on missions, when When they would leave the Star Ship Enterprise and walk around on a planet, they'd be walking around with this little computer. They were reading things or they have their maps or their sensors or stuff on this little machine. And I remember thinking to myself back then like man, it'd be so cool if I could walk around with a little device that I could just hold in my hand and learn things from it. [LAUGH] And lo and behold, this is what happened. When Oliver Stone first called me and he asked me to play Edward Snowden in his movie, first of all I was just flattered and honored because I grew up loving Oliver Stone movies, but then I was like, man, the truth is I don't really know that much about Edward Snowden, and so I looked into it and I'll tell you two things that I found really interesting [MUSIC] Interesting. One is, there was a congressional hearing in 2013. And a director of national intelligence named James Clapper testified before Congress. And he swore to tell the truth. Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans? No, sir. He was lying. No one could prove he was lying because no one had any evidence he was lying. Until, later that year, Snowden provided that evidence. One other thing that I learned that really surprised me was the government conducted an investigation and found that these mass surveillance programs. Had not actually helped stop any terrorism. When I went to meet him in Moscow I found someone who is just really down to earth. Really actually quite warm and very thoughtful, and who really, really cared a lot about the country. I was really more approaching him as an actor and And I hadn't actually met him, I think I'd be doing a lot more guessing. Hit record is the name of this company that I started a number of years ago now. A lot of times on the internet, you will see people saying, look what I made. Here's my video or here's my photo or here's my song. And on HitRecord, it's less about here's what I made, and more like hey, let's all make things together. And we turn the fruits of our collective labor into production. And then when those productions can make money, we pay the contributing artists. [MUSIC] Mr. Snowden contributed to one of our projects. Called are you there democracy, it's me the internet and it's a whole bunch of videos about people sort of talking about how technology impacts democracy. He's sort of become a symbol of how technology is misused and it was cool to here him speak more optimistically and say like, but I actually think that technology could make the future a better place and here's why. I'm really proud of the stuff we make together. It's a lot of fun. And for me I love it. [MUSIC]